EU still falls short on cross-border ecommerce


One of the many motives for the founding of the European Union
was to simplify cross-border commerce among member countries. As
regards to ecommerce, however, the benefits have yet to be
seen.

Of the nearly 11,000 cross-border test orders conducted as part
of a mystery-shopping study on behalf of the European Commission,
61 percent could not be completed because the merchants did not
ship product to the consumers’ country or did not accept
cross-border payment. According to the EC report, consumers in
Latvia, Belgium, Romania, and Bulgaria had the most difficulties
shopping from sites outside of their own country.

Among other findings:
The percentage of EU consumers who had shopped online rose from
27 percent in 2006 to 33 percent last year, but the percentage of
those who had purchased online from a business in another EU
country was all but flat (6 percent in 2006 to 7 percent in
2008).
In 13 of the 27 EU countries, shoppers were able to find an offer
in an outside EU nation that was at least 10 percent cheaper,
including P&P and other costs, than the best domestic
offer.
In 13 of the EU countries, shoppers could not find domestic
online offers for at least half of the products they were
searching for but were able to find them in another EU
country.

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