As the world becomes increasingly global, cross-border e-commerce is thriving, but navigating its roll-out in different markets can be complex, as different countries have different needs and concerns. Products also vary in popularity across the world, making it vital to cater your cross-border merchandise to each market. Below, we highlight the top categories and barriers to entry in the primary markets in the Americas: the U.S., Brazil and Canada.

There are several similarities between these markets.  Consumers in all three, for example, shop the most from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and U.K.  Interestingly, Canadian shoppers purchase goods at a much higher rate (67%) from the U.S. than American shoppers do from Canada (22%). Additionally, respondents in all three markets cited slow delivery times and cost as top barriers to cross-border shopping, similar to most of the other markets surveyed. In particular, there were several similarities between Brazilian and Canadian shoppers. For example, almost three-fourths of Brazilian and Canadian respondents said they purchase clothing, while this number was closer to half of U.S. consumers surveyed. The top 5 barriers to cross-border shopping were the same for Brazilian and Canadian consumers–in addition to shipping challenges, these shoppers also shared concerns over costs associated with duties and taxes and clarity around how these are calculated. While U.S. respondents also share concerns with shipping delivery times and cost, these shoppers expressed apprehensions regarding customer service availability and site security.  

United States at a Glance

Cross-border e-commerce has become increasingly common in the U.S., with over 60% of U.S. online apparel shoppers responding they’ve made a purchase from a foreign retailer, according to our latest Global Research Report: Cross-Border E-Commerce Trends. Over half of shoppers in this country are likely to make purchases from China, followed by the U.K. (37%), Canada (22%), Japan (16%), and Hong Kong (10%). Of the many categories that U.S. consumers shop cross-border, fashion and beauty products dominate. Shoes, jewelry and beauty/personal care products follow close behind. But U.S. consumers still have their concerns about cross-border shopping, with 62% of cross-border shoppers citing slow product delivery as the biggest setback. Other barriers they focus on include expensive shipping, as well as website security and availability of customer service. Some concerns come down to pure preference, like the fact that 35% of non-cross-border shoppers simply prefer to shop local. For more information on this market, see our latest infographic.

Brazil at a Glance

Of the 11 markets we surveyed for our latest Global Research Report (above), Brazil ranked the highest for cross-border shopping, with a significant 86% of respondents saying they made a cross-border purchase in the previous 6 months. Almost three-fourths of Brazilians are likely to shop on Chinese websites, while 51% purchase from American sites. Following behind, to a lesser degree, are Japan, Hong Kong and the UK. Clothing is far and away the most popular category Brazilians purchase cross-border, with 74% of people saying they order apparel internationally, as well as shoes (57%) and fashion accessories (50%). Consumer electronics, movies, music and games are also popular categories. There are still several barriers to overcome in this market, however. Cross-border shoppers and non-cross-border shoppers alike cite slow product delivery as their biggest concern, followed by pricey taxes and duties, expensive shipping, and costly currency exchange rates. A little over one-fourth of non-cross-border shoppers say that they don’t understand the final tax and duty amounts, highlighting a greater need for clarity on this issue to encourage more consumers to take the cross-border leap. For more information on this market, see our latest infographic.

Canada at a Glance

Canadians are eager to shop from online merchants in other countries, with our latest research finding them to be the third most likely market to shop on cross-border websites. Not surprisingly, 67% of Canadian shoppers are comfortable shopping on websites that originate from the neighboring U.S. This popular market is followed by China, the UK, Japan, and Hong Kong, which highlights the opportunity for e-commerce businesses in Asia to capture demand in this market. Clothing and shoes are favorite products for Canadians to purchase from international websites, at 72% and 33% percent, though fashion accessories follow closely behind along with consumer electronics and beauty/personal care products. To capitalize on this market, brands also need to bear in mind that Canadians are mainly concerned with international shipping costs, unclear and high taxes and duties, and slow product delivery. For more information on this market, see our latest infographic.

It’s clear that consumers in major markets across the Americas are open to shopping cross-border, but perfecting your cross-border e-commerce strategy is vital to keeping these consumers coming back. Using a platform like Flow can help you to check off all the right boxes for cross-border success.  Request a demo today.