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CAPE TOWN - The recent Global Consumer Report shows that the Generation X (persons born between 1966 - 1981) are the most active online shoppers, with an average of 19 transactions in 2016.

The general belief is that the youngsters are the most active shoppers, but the global stats has proved this wrong. Generation X, as referred to in the report, is the age group with substantial income and proper jobs, they are building properties and preparing for the retirement future.

Here are trends set to grow the cross-border e-commerce industry:

Consumer behaviour

The number of smartphone users globally has grown enormously.

Efi Dahan, the PayPal's general manager for Africa, Middle East, Russia and Turkey notes the 2.56 billion global mobile social media users indicated in the digital report. This shows that more people are exposed to international shopping websites.

It is said that 67% of consumers who shop abroad are buying because prices are lower outside of their own country. 

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Shopping online means having multiple shops right infront of your face without having to stand in long queues. Shopping anywhere and anytime you want.

According Dahan, this consumer behaviour is leading merchants and manufacturers to revise their online strategies.

It is believed that when international shoppers are buying from an online retailer in another country, they look for reassurance that everything will go as per promise with their purchase. 

Dahan suggests that trust should be built through offering local language websites, different currency options, and payment methods that are universally recognised and trusted.

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"Over the years online shopping has been slow to take off in South Africa. However, recent research indicated that 58% of online adults in South Africa shopped online over the past 12 months, said added.

The rise of new technology and services that address pain points

Cross-border payment enablers are said to be now offering consumers and merchants enhanced services that address some of the most frequent pain points South Africans mention when participating in e-commerce.

This has come through due to growth of digital economy.

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It is also the consumers responsibility to make sure to check if the payment provider they are using has programmes in place to address their key concerns.

Dahan said, "Many people have heard stories about purchasing something from an overseas website and having the wrong item arrive, or worse, having nothing arrive at all". 

"Consumers must look for payment providers that ensure the cost of returning an item, especially to an overseas vendor, is minimal," he concluded.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE