Reduced Access To Stores Boosts Cross-Border E-Commerce; Millennials, Gen Z Fuel Activity



Sharon Edelson | Forbes

Millennials are the driving force behind the rise in international direct-to-consumer e-commerce sales in the last six months, according to ESW, formerly eShopWorld. The activity came amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which reduced access to stores, prompting 52% of 25- to 34-year-olds to buy online directly from international brands, according to ESW.

“We will be going back to pre-Covid-19 levels in terms of stores resuming their full role and rebalancing into physical retail or whatever the next chapter will be made of,” said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, ESW president and CEO, Americas. “What were the major drivers of this change? It was definitely a profound evolution in the past 18 months and could only be sustainable if you have generational shifts behind it.”

There were definitely generational shifts according to ESW’s Global Voices: Pre-Peak Pulse 2021, a survey of almost 15,000 consumers across 14 countries, which showed that 52% of shoppers overall were motivated to buy online during the pandemic. That average rose to 58% among 25- to 44-year-olds, as shuttered stores and reduced access to physical shops prompted consumers to purchase items online that they normally would have validated and bought in-store.

The trend was most keenly felt in South Africa and India, both 63%, followed by the UAE, 56%, China, 53%, and the US, 52%.

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