The Internet is often accredited with creating this global marketplace we all enjoy today; from the comforts of our couch, we can buy shoes from China, a table from Brazil and a retro UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Starter jacket from Denmark. Whatever our commercial, little hearts desire, the Internet can provide.
It’s far more common to discuss the impact of this borderless marketplace on the consumer – more competition > greater selection > lower costs > etc. But not often enough do we consider the impact in the other direction – companies equipped to sell cross-border can reach a potential customer base exponentially larger than those that cannot.
Paypal recently conducted a survey in 31 global markets among 34,000 consumers. The findings (shown above) indicate that Russians have the 4th largest percentage of consumers who shop exclusively online from international merchants.
Many Russians prefer to buy cross-border in pursuit of higher quality goods, a trusted merchant, or the status that international brands often carry domestically.
Most surprisingly from the Paypal research, only 36% of US eCommerce merchants are selling cross-border. Only 4% of the global population live in the US. So, those merchants that ignore cross-border are ignoring ~96% of their potential audience.
Russia is home to the world’s 7th largest Internet audience. When you combine the size of the audience with their affinity for cross-border shopping, Russia is too attractive of a market to ignore for US merchants.