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Online Marketplaces and Digital Payments: The Future of Cross-Border B2C E-Commerce

The growth of E-Commerce has changed the way consumers shop worldwide, with a shift towards cross-border purchases. As the demand for cross-border B2C E-Commerce continues to rise, it has also impacted the purchase avenues, leading to a move from brand/retailer websites to online marketplaces.

Online marketplaces are reshaping the conventional landscape of the cross-border B2C E-Commerce market. According to data cited in our upcoming publication, “Global Cross-border B2C E-Commerce Market 2023”, in July 2022, more than one-third of online shoppers preferred to make their cross-border purchases via marketplaces, although brand websites still occupied the first position among more than half of online shoppers. The availability of a variety of products on a single platform at affordable prices has contributed to the growing popularity of online marketplaces for cross-border E-Commerce.

Globally, Amazon and AliExpress were the most preferred marketplaces for cross-border purchases as of 2021. In terms of the most downloaded shopping apps, Amazon came second after Shopee as of 2021. Furthermore, Meesho and Shopee were the most favored cross-border B2C E-Commerce shopping apps as of H1 2022, with Amazon ranking 4th after SHEIN.

The B2C cross-border E-Commerce in Europe is also evolving in light of growing online marketplaces. In terms of the top 16 European countries in cross-border online shopping based on four metrics, Germany was the front-runner in the best marketplaces and online shops as of 2021. While Germany is home to popular brands such as Hugo Boss, About You, and Hello Fresh, among others, nearly three-quarters of online shoppers in France inclined towards online marketplaces as their preferred channel of cross-border purchase as of January 2022. Better prices, better quality, and the discovery of new products that may not be available locally are some factors driving online shoppers to buy products from outside their country.

With the rise in cross-border E-Commerce, retailers and B2C sellers are investing in creating their own marketplaces, which enables brands to reach out to new customers while also streamlining the entire shopping process. In some cases, large E-Commerce players collaborated with local and domestic players, creating more locally established marketplaces that provide a wide range of international products.

The cross-border B2C E-Commerce market is also witnessing a rise in digitalized payment methods such as digital wallets and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services. While card-based payments still occupy a dominant position among online shoppers in countries such as Japan, Singapore, and Canada, among others, online shoppers across regions are inclining more towards using digital wallets such as PayPal and Alipay as payment methods. Furthermore, with maturing digital infrastructure and increased mobile penetration, B2C E-Commerce retailers are offering BNPL services. The appeal of BNPL is also growing among online shoppers, as it allows for a frictionless payment process.

In conclusion, the growing demand for online marketplaces as platforms for cross-border purchases and digitalized payment methods such as digital wallets and BNPL will continue to improve the cross-border B2C E-Commerce landscape. With the increasing popularity of online marketplaces, retailers and B2C sellers need to adapt to these changes to reach out to new customers and streamline the shopping experience. As the E-Commerce market continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how digitalized payment methods and online marketplaces shape the future of cross-border B2C E-Commerce.