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Cross-border fashion shopping booms as consumers hunt for deals

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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A woman shopping. Credits: Pexels

Rising prices are driving more consumers to shop across borders for fashion deals, with an appetite for discounted and unique items outweighing trust concerns, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 consumers in the US and UK by e-commerce platform Nosto found that 70 percent of cross-border online shoppers are likely to purchase fashion and accessories from retailers abroad. The biggest lures are lower prices (cited by 41 percent) and a desire for unique or unusual items (33 percent).

Overall, 53 percent of respondents said surging inflation at home has made them more inclined to seek affordable purchases internationally. Alarmingly, 29 percent said they would even consider buying counterfeit brands overseas if they were cheaper - a figure that jumped to 45 percent among Gen Z shoppers aged 16-24.

"We're seeing increasing merchant interest in selling fashion cross-border as they chase growth opportunities," said Matthäus Bognar, Nosto's general manager for EMEA and APAC. "But a lack of consumer trust remains a hurdle."

Price-driven shoppers

The research highlights three areas retailers must focus on: providing clear information on taxes, duties and returns; offering localized social proof like customer reviews; and enhancing the online experience with local currencies and relevant product recommendations.

While 52 percent had made a cross-border purchase in the past year, 60 percent said they trust international retailers less than domestic ones. Concerns included difficulties returning items (50 percent), poor quality goods (47 percent) and counterfeits (46 percent).

Ironically, suspiciously low prices were the biggest deterrent, suggesting some appetite for discounts comes with quality guardrails. Chinese marketplaces like Temu and AliExpress are gaining traction, with 54 percent saying they would consider these players.

But ESG factors loom, with 67 percent rejecting retailers linked to forced labour and 49 percent fretting over emissions from long-distance shipping.

Tax free shopping