Thanks to digital commerce, a shopper anywhere in the world can buy light fixtures from Scandinavia, cosmetics from South Korea or clothing from Brazil without leaving their house. But compared with other countries, relatively few US online buyers engage in cross-border ecommerce.
According to a May 2018 PayPal and Ipsos survey, roughly one-third of US online buyers had made a cross-border purchase digitally in the past 12 months. The majority (66%) find all the retailers they need on their home turf. The US tied with India for third place, ranked by countries that shop online domestically. Only Germany (68%) and Japan (94%) had higher levels.
"The eMarketer Ecommerce Insights Survey," conducted in July 2018 by Bizrate Insights, showed that just 10.8% of US internet users had bought from a foreign site in the past 30 days. This figure is lower than PayPal's because it covers a shorter timeframe and includes all internet users, not just digital buyers. There wasn't wild variance with age. The most active age the 30-to-39 age group (14.4%), the lowest incidence occurred with those 60 and older (9.6%).
Half of these sales occur on a desktop computer, according to PayPal, while 32% were via smartphones, which was a much higher rate than neighboring Canada (15%) and higher than all of the 16 countries in Europe included in the survey.