Cross-border E-commerce to Reach $1 Trillion in 2020

The global B2C cross-border e-commerce market will balloon in size to $1 trillion in 2020 from $230 billion in 2014, according to a report from global consulting firm Accenture and AliResearch, Alibaba Group’s research arm.

In the report, “Cross-border B2C E-commerce Market Trends,” researchers forecast that this increasingly popular form of online shopping—entailing consumers taking to the Internet to buy products directly from overseas retailers—will see compound annual growth of 27.4 percent over the next five years, double the rate of worldwide B2C shopping as a whole. By 2020, more than 900 million people around the world will be international online shoppers, the report says, with their purchases accounting for nearly 30 percent of all global B2C transactions.

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Cross-border online shopping is gaining popularity particularly in emerging markets, where consumers can find it hard to find affordable imported products in local shops. In many cases, the only alternative is shopping on websites in other countries or from marketplaces such as Alibaba Group’s, a Chinese B2C website that hosts merchants from around the world.

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According to the Accenture-AliResearch report, China is expected to drive much of the growth of cross-border e-commerce in coming years because the country’s large and growing middle class is hungry for authentic, good-quality foreign products. China’s middle class today is equal in size to the entire U.S. population and is expected to reach 630 million by 2022, according to management consultancy McKinsey.

China will become the largest cross-border B2C market by 2020, with the transaction volume of imported goods purchased online reaching $245 billion, according to Accenture-AliResearch. The report predicts over 200 million Chinese consumers will be cross-border shopping in five years.

Here’s how things break down graphically in charts from the report:

The global cross-border B2C market will register compound annual growth of 27.4 percent from 2014 to 2020.

More than 900 million consumers – 45 percent of all online shoppers – will purchase products internationally on the Web by 2020.