Popular worldwide, online shopping shows varying market preferences

As sensational a global trend as ecommerce and online retail may be, there are a number of key distinctions among markets worldwide.

As sensational a global trend as ecommerce and online retail may be, there are a number of key distinctions among markets worldwide. A report released this week by Pitney Bowes found online shopping is universally embraced, but in varying degrees.

Consumers in Germany, South Korea and the U.K., for example, are the most active online shoppers, with 98 percent of respondents reporting having purchased a product online, compared to 93 percent worldwide. Researchers polled consumers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Price of products was the most important consideration for purchasing goods online in all 10 countries. But interestingly enough, ease and speed of the checkout process is far more important to consumers in Germany and South Korea than in Japan (by a margin of 59 percent to 11 percent).

Additionally, a clear and coherent return policy is nearly three times more important to consumers in China than in Brazil or the U.S.

"To be successful, retailers need to ensure they can offer a simple and seamless online shopping experience," said Jay Oxton, president of mail services at Pitney Bowes, "and have a clear understanding of consumers' purchasing, shipping and communications preferences in each market."