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

Help 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

Globalization and internet adoption are creating opportunities for small businesses to reach new customers abroad.

  • 81%

    Of online adults shopped online in past 12 months.*

  • $629 billion

    Estimated cross-border B2C e-commerce spend by 2022**

  • 72%

    Of cross-border shoppers cite "better prices" as their top reason for why they shop internationally.*

Read on to gain insights about international buyers

Insights about international buyers

PayPal and Ipsos research provides insight into where consumers are buying from, what’s important to them and how they pay for goods and services. See below for more from the study.

The most popular destinations for cross-border shoppers to buy from online:

  • China (26%)
  • USA (21%)
  • UK/GB (14%)
  • Germany (10%)
  • Japan (5%)

The top cross-border online shopping categories are:

  • Clothing, shoes and accessories (68%)
  • Consumer electronics (53%)
  • Toys and hobbies (53%)
  • Jewelry/watches (51%)
  • Cosmetics/beauty products (46%)
  • Collectables, memorabilia, art (42%)

The top reasons that consumers are buying cross-border online:

  • Better prices (72%)
  • Access to items not available in my country (49%)
  • I can discover new and interesting products (34%)
  • Higher product quality (29%)
  • Shipping is more affordable (24%)

The top barriers to cross-border shopping among those consumers who shop cross-border include:

  • Delivery shipping costs (25%)
  • Delivery time not fast enough (24%)
  • Concern that they may not receive the item (24%)
  • Having to pay customs duties/fees and/or taxes (24%)

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

In the study conducted by Ipsos MORI, PayPal consistently ranked among the top payment methods buyers choose for both domestic and international payments – with the top reason being because it’s a secure way to pay. With PayPal, Merchants can accept payments in more than 200+ markets in 25 currencies, and PayPal is already built into many top ecommerce platforms and carts, so setup is easy.

How the World Buys Online

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


Ready to help start or expand your international sales?

Learn How to Sell Internationally


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The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.