A world of opportunity is waiting

Your guide to selling internationally. Read on to learn how.

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How to sell internationally

Whether you’re new to selling internationally or a pro, it pays to have a plan in place. We’ve outlined
five critical areas to consider when planning for international growth.

Identify target markets for your business

Identify which countries to target and research the unique aspects of each market.

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Consider your payment options

Make sure consumers have confidence their payment is secure, and can use their preferred method.

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Research local laws, duties, and taxes

As an international seller, you need to understand local laws, duties, taxes, customs, and free trade agreements.

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Establish support and shipping services

Make sure that your policies on international shipping, delivery, returns, and payment are clear and easy to find.

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Determine demand and selling strategies

Generate demand by building brand awareness and taking advantage of local trends and holidays.

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Read on to learn about the benefits of selling internationally

The global sales opportunity

Global prosperity and mobile adoption are creating opportunities for small businesses
to reach new customers abroad.

  • 4.2 billion

    By 2025, the global consuming class will grow by 75% to a total of 4.2 billion people.*

  • $30 trillion

    These 4.2 billion consumers will spend an estimated $30 trillion annually.*

  • 66% on mobile

    More than two-thirds of the world now has an internet-connected mobile device.*

Read on to gain insights about international buyers

Insights about international buyers

A PayPal and Nielsen Research study provides insight into who the international buyer is,
what’s important to them, and how they pay for goods and services.*

Who they are

INCOME: 70% are mid- to high-income earners

AGE: Most are between 35-54 years old

WHY THEY BUY: Their top reasons for buying online from an international seller are to “save money” (80% of respondents), followed by “more variety that cannot be found locally” (79%)

What they buy

The top cross-border online shopping categories are:

  • Clothing, shoes, and accessories (US$12.5bn)
  • Health and beauty products (US$7.6bn)
  • Personal electronics (US$6.0bn)
  • Computer hardware (US$6.0bn)
  • Jewelry, gems, and watches (US$5.8bn)

What keeps them from buying

FEAR OF FRAUD & IDENTITY THEFT: Nearly seven out of ten (69%) cross-border online shoppers cite fear of identity theft and fraud as the main deterrent against making a cross-border online payment.

LACK OF BUYER PROTECTION: 88% of cross-border online shoppers believe that buyer protection is important or very important when making an overseas online purchase, with the highest response rates from shoppers in emerging markets.

Why they choose PayPal for payment

The top reason shoppers use preferred payment methods, and PayPal in particular, is security.

MORE WILLING TO BUY: 81% of cross-border online shoppers are more willing to make a purchase from an overseas merchant because their purchase can be covered by PayPal’s Purchase Protection policy. See eligibility requirements.*

SAFER TO USE ONLINE: 41% of cross-border online shoppers say the top reason for using PayPal for an overseas transaction is because PayPal is safer to use online due to less fraud.*

The result

PayPal is widely and frequently used for cross-border online shopping.


Nearly eight out of ten cross-border online shoppers have used PayPal for overseas purchases.


Half of the shoppers surveyed use PayPal most frequently for international purchases – more than twice as often as the next payment method.

How the World Buys Online

Global research provides merchants key insights to expand global sales including: invest in SEO, think mobile and sell into new markets.


Ready to start or expand your international sales?

Learn How to Sell Internationally


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