Global Insights: The Borderfree Blog

International Ecommerce Fashion: What’s Trending Online?

Ecommerce is blurring borders, bringing top U.S. fashion brands to every corner of the globe.

And when it comes to how merchandise is moving, Borderfree’s platform gives a unique glimpse into what international consumers want most. So what are the online sales trends we’ve seen from Abu Dhabi to Zurich?

Canada is King: Given its proximity to America and familiarity with American brands, Canada often leads the pack in terms of international sales for U.S. brands. When deciding where to focus, American retailers would be smart to look to shoppers in Toronto, which ranks #1 among other global cities.

Big Spenders in Saudi Arabia: With a stable economy and a large expat population, Saudi Arabia makes for a very attractive market for retailers. Retailers that sell to online shoppers in this Middle Eastern country will benefit from some of the highest AOVs in the world, and its capital city Riyadh is #7 among the top 10 cities for overall sales.

Asia Soars to New Heights: Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan all hold a spot in the top 10 countries for sales, at #4, #6 and #7, respectively. And at $315, Hong Kong is a close second to Saudi Arabia in terms of average order value.

American Luxury Brands Lead

International sales of U.S.-based retailers show a strong demand for American brands. American designer Michael Kors wins top honors as the most in-demand brand, while other U.S.-based brands, such as Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Kate Spade and Vince, all made the top 10 in international sales.

Luxury Shoe Aficionados

Women, no matter where in the world they’re located, love their shoes, and the category is one of the top sellers across the Borderfree network. But not every country is loyal to the same brands. For example, in Qatar, Manolos are the designer shoe brand of choice; Hong Kong shoppers prefer Christian Louboutin; while Jimmy Choo takes the lead in Saudi Arabia.

Handbag Habits Vary

The tote is the bag of choice in Hong Kong, and Russian customers also love larger bags, favoring the satchel. Canadians may have less to carry, opting instead for wristlets.

Size Matters

Fashionable plus-size clothing is in demand around the world, and American retailers are well-positioned to benefit from shoppers looking for high-quality plus-size clothing at attractive pricing. In fact, retailers are seeing an increase in plus-size sales in Canada, where you’ll find the top buyers of size 12 and up; in Bermuda, where nearly three quarters of the population is obese; in Kuwait, with the world’s highest BMI rates; and in the U.K., where women’s average dress size is 16.

Download our full International Fashion Flash Report here.

Ecommerce Holiday Promotion Banners (Free Download)

Download these promotional banners for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas sales

Here’s an early holiday gift that will save you time and resources as you meet your holiday sales goals: a set of cyber holiday banners you can use in online or email promotions. Download the free ecommerce holiday banners now.

With an anticipated 15% rise in digital holiday sales anticipated once again this year – and 61.8 billion retail ecommerce dollars up for grabs (eMarketer) – you need to make sure you’re rising above the holiday din and capturing customers’ attention. Our eye-catching banners provide holiday delivery countdowns to Christmas and promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They’ll also help you promote your free shipping and duty free campaigns – critical elements of any successful holiday marketing plan, especially one that includes international ecommerce.

So as you gear up to put your holiday marketing plan to use this month, check “banners” off your holiday check list by downloading our complimentary holiday banners. Click here for our handy list of ecommerce banners available.

Download the free ecommerce holiday banners now.

Comparing Ecommerce Opportunity in China and India

China and India are among the fastest growing economies in the world, capturing the imaginations of many major global retailers.

Over the past five years, ecommerce in China has grown exponentially – and is now the biggest ecommerce market in Asia (topping Japan last year). India's ecommerce market is also evolving. Both countries see between 30-40% year-over-year increase in B2C sales. While both ecommerce markets see growth, they differ vastly in maturity – especially around ecommerce structure, proportion of retail sales and consumer online purchasing behavior. Borderfree believes that China has the perfect market conditions for retailers looking to expand internationally. According to iResearch, the number of online shoppers in China jumped 47 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from a year earlier—and expects future compound growth rate to increase to 25% between 2014 and 2017.

Here are more reasons to consider setting your sights on China.

More Consumers, Ready to Buy

Though with 1.3 billion people India nearly matches China’s 1.4 billion in total population, 46% of China’s population (642 million users) has Internet access, compared to less than 20% of India’s (243 million users). And online shopping has caught on in China, with over 28% of the population having purchased online this year, while less than 5% of the Indian population attempted the same.

Though C2C ecommerce comprises two thirds of China’s total ecommerce revenue today, B2C sales are expected to grow to 50% of total ecommerce revenue by 2016. Further, online retail, which now represents 5.1% of total retail, is expected to increase substantially in coming years. In contrast, travel dominated 70% of India’s ecommerce revenue in 2014, with online retail representing less than 1% of total retail.

Chinese Shoppers Cross Borders

Today, over half of Chinese households live in cities with stable Internet infrastructure and exposure to international brands, compared with the over two thirds of India’s people living in rural, Internet-free areas. The average Chinese shopper, then, is more likely to shop across borders than his or her counterpart in India. And Chinese shoppers have more money to spend: On average, household disposable income in China is 1.7 times that of India’s, and credit card penetration is 47% versus 3% in India.

Challenges Remain 

Despite the promising size and qualities of the Chinese market, it’s far from a risk-free climate for cross-border ecommerce. Average household disposable income is still only $10,859. Fierce local competition and high customer expectations have driven margins downward, and foreign companies are constrained by low English proficiency. And homegrown behemoths dominate online share-of-voice and ecommerce sales: Baidu is the top search engine, QZone is the top social network, and Taobao and TMall are leading ecommerce sites.

But with retail ecommerce sales (excluding travel) 41 times that of India’s (217.4 billion vs 5.3 billion, respectively) and consumers hungry for ecommerce, China is becoming a promising prospect for global retailers. For the time being, we recommend deprioritizing the Indian market, and keeping your eyes fixed on China.


Borderfree has launched a range of services to help leading retailers grow online sales in China. Contact us to learn more.

Hong Kong Ecommerce Report (2014)

Hong Kong is a “Very Desirable Market” – the top Asian cross-border ecommerce market, earning 4 out of 5 shopping carts from the Borderfree Index.

A flashy, extravagant city, Hong Kong is a draw for shoppers seeking luxury. And its people are frequent travelers to the United States, bringing familiarity with U.S. brands back home, where they’re experienced, high-spending online shoppers. Hong Kongers, in fact, have the highest global per-capita spend on clothing and footwear, according to Borderfree Insights.

Find out more about China’s “window on the West” – and the opportunity this market offers to online retailers – by downloading our Hong Kong Country Report here. 

Download the Hong Kong Country Report

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