Amid what the Economist Intelligence Unit calls “the rise of the customer-led economy,” many businesses are expanding e-commerce offerings as consumers increasingly turn to online shopping. These e-commerce customers without borders generated an estimated $25 billion in online exports for 2013, according to research conducted by London-based management consultancy OC&C and Google.
The study of six top e-commerce markets—including the United States, Britain, Germany, the Nordics, the Netherlands and France—found that cross-border online trade will grow fivefold by 2020, reaching an estimated $130 billion. The report parallels a recent study by Mintel that estimates online retail sales in Europe will double over the next five years.
Britain’s advanced e-commerce market generated an online trade surplus of more than $1 billion, the highest for 2013. The U.S. was next in line with a surplus of $180 million. The study identifies retailers operating as pure e-commerce brands—led by eBay and Amazon—and traditional brands accelerating international expansion through e-commerce. Swedish furniture retailer IKEA led the latter group, followed by fashion retailer H&M and Avon.