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Online merchants remove international borders for retailers

July 25, 2013

The internet has changed the way we all do business, but it's also changed who we do business with. According to a report organized by Paypal and Nielsen, internet merchant accounts have helped to create a "modern spice route": a cyclical exchange of funds and products across borders, driven by the easy availability of online stores.

The internet has changed the way we all do business, but it’s also changed who we do business with. According to a report organized by Paypal and Nielsen, internet merchant accounts have helped to create a “modern spice route”: a cyclical exchange of funds and products across borders, driven by the easy availability of online stores.

“Traditionally, the small merchant was left out,” PayPal president David Marcus said, according to a report from NDTV Gadgets. He explained that, before the widespread adoption of online shopping, brand name retailers with the ability to build brick-and-mortar stores in international location were able to monopolize the worldwide profit opportunities in their field. 

“Here comes the Internet, and small merchants can basically make the world their backyard market,” he said. 

And, according to the statistics provided by the study, they already have. Paypal found that cross-border online shopping, enacted via online credit card processing, will account for well over $100 billion in total revenue during 2013.

China, Argentina, and Brazil were among the countries that contributed the most to the total cash-count, but the results suggest a worldwide phenomenon. Small business owners everywhere have quite literally seen the entire world of potential profits open up to them, thanks to online retail opportunities. 

What’s most surprising is the breadth and the range of the shopping that was documented. Of those surveyed, 25 percent had made a purchase from Hong Kong in the past 12 months, displaying a healthy confidence in online purchasing – no matter the destination.

And the items purchased also show that, regardless of the field, online retailing is a pool that consumers want to dive into. Over $12 billion was spent on clothes, shoes, and accessories online by cross-border shoppers over the past 12 months, and another $6 billion on electronics. According to the statistics provided, the modern spice routes have already taken hold.

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