Forrester Data has just released its first global cross-border online retail forecast covering 29 countries worldwide, helping retailers understand the size and growth of the online cross-border market by country and region and identify the region-to-region flow of trade. Cross-border online B2C sales will more than double in the next five years to reach $424 billion in 2021, as consumers find online cross-border shopping easier, faster, and more convenient:
Cross-border shoppers in developing markets are increasing significantly. Metropolitan China in particular saw a large jump in its share of online buyers shopping across borders in 2015. Online cross-border buyer growth is strongest in developing economies: Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East will see double-digit compound annual growth over the next five years — significantly more than the growth in Europe and North America.
Marketplaces are increasing their share of cross-border sales. Cross-border shoppers prefer to use global marketplaces when they shop abroad. Alibaba increased its share of online sales from outside China. Online marketplace Rakuten reported 41% growth in cross-border sales in 2015, more than twice the growth of the domestic Japanese eCommerce market. In Germany, France, and the UK, more than half of cross-border buyers buy from Amazon and eBay. Amazon merchants’ cross-border sales doubled in 2014.
In August 2015, the Australian government announced an impending change to their tax structure that will impact online retailers serving the market via international shipping. Today, Australian consumers can import up to A$1,000 duty-free when they buy from a foreign retailer. The A$1,000 duty-free exemption is known as the low value threshold (LVT) and it has driven a large cross-border shopping habit among online shoppers in Australia. But change is afoot and retailers should know that:
Goods and services tax (GST) will be added to cross-border transactions previously exempt. As of July 2017, the Australian government will be expanding its GST collection to purchases previously exempt under the A$1,000 threshold. Additionally, the government stipulates the onus is on retailers to collect and remit the tax: According to the Australian Treasury Department, "For goods with a value of A$1,000 or less, GST is applied at point of sale. Overseas vendors with an Australian turnover of $75,000 or more will be required to register, collect and remit GST on low value goods."*