Cross-border e-commerce sales growth is predicted to outstrip US domestic e-commerce by up to 150%. ESW predicts a stronger than usual peak period as order volumes increase by over 200% in some markets

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest shopping days of the year, usually considered the start of ‘peak’ shopping season for brands and retailers globally. Brands traditionally see order volumes increasing year on year, with volumes increasing 38.5% from 2018 to 2019 for ESW clients during the Black Friday holiday week.

With the pandemic impacting physical shopping with drastically reduced footfall in stores, shoppers have increasingly moved online, and brands with a strong digital presence are reaping the rewards. This trend looks set to continue – predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday cross-border spending is estimated to be 63% higher than 2019. Domestically, the US is only predicting a 25% increase in online sales over the peak period.

Speaking about ESW’s predictions, CEO Tommy Kelly said, “We saw a 113% year-over-year increase in same-store global online sales in October and we’re confident the end of the year will follow the same pattern.

“Although consumers began their Peak shopping earlier this year, a predicted increase in sales throughout November and December suggests that the ‘typical’ Christmas shopping season will be active, as always.  We’ve already seen many countries enter a second phase of lockdown, so we anticipate that the massive shift to online shopping is here to stay.”

Fastest-Growing Global Markets

Some countries seeing the highest volumes of year on year growth in the run up to peak season include India (241%), France (213%), Malaysia (206%) and Morocco (147%), with the UK (25%), Australia (26%), Canada (24%), France (213%) and Mexico (41%) the top five global markets by volume.

Predictions for Cross-Border E-Commerce Brands For Peak 2020

Throughout 2020, order volumes have exceeded 2019 peak season volumes, as ecommerce has emerged as the predominant sales channel. With the pandemic affecting how consumers shop, ESW anticipates some changes to the peak period this year.

  • Shoppers will start shopping earlier with 77% planning to shop earlier than they usually would, 67% saying they would start before Thanksgiving, and 23% saying they would start as early as October.
  • Many brands are starting their sales earlier in the month to take the pressure off Black Friday and Cyber Monday itself.
  • Brands will focus more on their omnichannel/online operations to mitigate against potential store closures as brick and mortar stores are subject to lockdown at any time or may already be in lockdown
  • Returns could be a potential challenge as shoppers often buy in different sizes or colors in anticipation of returning what doesn’t suit/fit and may be more inclined to over buy with a view to returning this year, due to no fitting room access if in lockdown
  • Retailers will ‘double down’ on clearing inventory for the rest of the year as it is the biggest cost for retailers both to produce and warehouse. With lockdowns meaning no store access, retailers will aim to clear inventory through digital channels for cost-reduction as well as revenue-generating purposes.

Conclusion

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always busy shopping days online, but look to be significantly  more so this year. E-commerce brands and retailers will see differences in shopper behavior in line with how the pandemic has affected online and offline behavior, and can anticipate stronger than usual sales over this period and continuing into the new year.

 

Cross-border Ecommerce A Buyer’s Guide