online shopping

In a broad-based study of retailers and consumers across the globe, researchers at Pitney Bowes found that 70 percent of online shoppers have made a cross-border transaction while 40 percent of consumers polled said “shop online, pick up in store” is regularly practiced — which compares to 28 percent in last year’s report.

Regarding online holiday shopping, nearly half of consumers said the overall experience did not meet their expectations and was fraught with a variety of issues. Authors of the Pitney Bowes Global E-commerce Study said “retailers still have a long way to go toward meeting consumer expectations, particularly when it comes to the post-purchase experience for online shoppers.”

The study was based on a survey of 1,200 retailers from eight countries, and 12,000 consumers from 12 global markets, the company said adding that “as retailers prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season, the study offers a detailed portrait of trends impacting online retailers and consumers around the globe.”

Of the consumers polled, 47 percent “reported frustration with everything from shipping, to returns, to lost products and miscalculated duties and taxes during the 2016 holiday shopping season,” researchers said in their report. This reflects a 6 percentage point increase from last year’s survey. The bulk of dissatisfaction was found in India and Hong Kong with the percentage of unhappy shoppers coming in at 73 and 69 percent, respectively. In China, 64 percent were dissatisfied and in the U.S., 36 percent were.

Lila Snyder, president of global e-commerce and presort services at Pitney Bowes, said as “consumers become more experienced with online shopping, they’re shifting more of their holiday spend online and expecting better and better service from retailers. Online shoppers have an entire global marketplace at their fingertips. They expect that there is always a way to get the product they want, shipped where they want, when they want it. This creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers.”

Snyder went on to note that with even more purchases expected to be online this year, “retailers need to double down on the elements of the consumer experience that matter most — delivery, returns, tracking and world-class customer care.”

The survey also found that consumers are shopping online more frequently. The report showed that more than “one-third of global consumers make online purchases at least once per week (up 4% from the prior year).”

Confirming prior reports from other research firms and companies, the survey also showed more consumers searching online marketplaces. The poll found that 67 percent of online shoppers “turn to marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, Rakuten, Tmall and to search for products.”

This compares to 40 percent for retail sites and 46 percent for search engines.

For More Business News From WWD, See:

Amazon, Wal-Mart and Apple Top List of Biggest E-commerce Retailers

Consumer Preferences Reshaping Retail Landscape

As IoT Grows, AT&T Sees Broad Deployment of Connected Devices and Products

How Malls Can Satiate Consumer Desires for Experiences

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