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Singapore leads global shift towards international online shopping
Thu, 21st Mar 2024

A recent global e-commerce report released by Airwallex pinpointed key trends and behaviours from the consumer's perspective towards cross-border e-commerce transactions. The report revealed that 54% of global consumers are expected to increase their international online shopping in 2024, with 62% of consumers in Singapore agreeing with this sentiment.

For confidence in carrying out the e-commerce transactions over the borders, consumers have flagged the importance of flexibility and transparency with payments and shipments. The report also highlighted a surge in social media platforms reshaping the retail landscape, which is particularly apparent in Singapore. The survey found that 62% of consumers are likely to purchase from international merchants via these platforms. Of the social media spaces, TikTok emerged as the most popular amongst 25% of Singaporean consumers followed closely by Instagram (23%) and Facebook (22%) for international online shopping.

It is also important to note a significant finding of 54% of global consumers anticipating an increase in their cross-border purchasing in 2024, highlighting the importance of flexibility and transparency in digital payment experiences. Interestingly, 77% of consumers expressed that they would abandon their cart if their preferred payment method was not offered.

Kai Wu, Chief Revenue Officer at Airwallex, commented on the findings, "E-commerce is more global than ever. Despite ongoing economic uncertainty and slowing global growth, it is clear that consumer spending will continue to grow. With the global cross-border e-commerce market set to reach USD 7.9 trillion by 2030, it is critical for international merchants to solve consumer pain points and deliver the best possible customer experience."

The Airwallex report provided key insights into the state of cross-border e-commerce, outlining the challenges faced by consumers and merchants in this landscape across Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the US. 61% of consumers perceive international merchants as trustworthy, and 65% expressed confidence in the security of their personal and financial data when buying from international merchants. Additionally, the rise of digital payment methods was found as a reason for consumers feeling more comfortable making purchases globally, underscored once again the demand for flexibility and transparency in the payment and shipping processes.

Shipping costs, transparency and lengthy refund processing times emerged as significant factors for consumers when considering international purchases. Other motivating factors for international shopping include greater product options, better quality products, and lower prices. Geographically, the US (36%) and China (25%) stood out as the top regions for consumer international shopping.

Social commerce continues to increase in popularity worldwide, with 59% of consumers indicating that they are likely to purchase from international merchants using social media platforms. Consumers in China (86%), Hong Kong (76%), and Singapore (62%) demonstrated the highest appetites for social commerce.