A survey of 2,000 consumers from the UK and US by commerce experience platform Nosto has found that 70% say they’re likely to buy fashion from abroad, with lower prices (41%) and a desire for unique or unusual items (33%) among the biggest triggers.

Slightly more than half (52%) of consumers revealed they had purchased at least one item from an international e-commerce store in the last 12 months.

Cross-border shoppers are most likely to buy fashion and accessories (70%) followed by sporting and hobby-related goods (57%) and health and beauty products (55%).

What is motivating cross-border purchases?

53% of consumers admit that rising prices at home mean they’re more likely to look for affordable purchases elsewhere.

Notably, 29% would even consider buying fake brands from abroad if they were cheaper. This rises to 45% for Generation Z consumers (16 to 24-year-olds).

Almost a quarter of consumers (23%) who had considered cross-border purchases were motivated by products they’d seen on social media. This was the main reason given by Gen Z (33%).

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Lack of trust remains a key barrier

The US and UK marketing push by Chinese e-commerce marketplaces, which sell fashion and a wide selection of other products, is also driving interest. More than half (54%) of all consumers surveyed agreed that they had heard of online marketplaces such as Temu and AliExpress and would consider ordering from them if they had products of interest.

On the downside, 92% of all consumers admit to having concerns about making international purchases and 60% trust international e-commerce stores less than those at home.

A significant 71% are less likely to give them a second chance following a poor purchase experience compared to domestic stores.

Environmental, social and governance issues also come into play, with 67% agreeing they would not make a purchase from an e-commerce store in another country if they heard it was linked to forced labour or poor working conditions. 49% agreed that they were concerned about ordering products online from far-flung destinations because of the environmental impact of transporting them.

Nosto general manager Matthäus Bognar commented: “If you’re a retailer trying to sell into an international market, you must provide absolute clarity about all aspects of the purchase, delivery and returns process.”