South Korea Emerges as Prime Market for Expanding E-tailers

6/23/2014
U.S. retailers seeking to grow their businesses with online shoppers overseas should look to South Korea, according to a report from Borderfree, a provider of international cross-border ecommerce solutions.

The report, part of Borderfree's series of intelligence pieces on high-interest markets for ecommerce, points to South Korea as a standout market based on its strong currency, demonstrated zeal among consumers for shopping online, broad access to credit cards for online payments and world leadership in broadband speed and penetration.

"South Korea presents one of the best opportunities for American retailers looking to concentrate their ecommerce marketing efforts overseas,” said Michael DeSimone, CEO, Borderfree. "South Koreans are extremely receptive to and have a strong familiarity with U.S. brands, particularly in the luxury and technology categories. They are also highly responsive to online deals, and our retailers have found great success with localized promotional campaigns in the region.”

Borderfree developed the Borderfree Index (BFI), a proprietary quantitative and qualitative measure to provide an indication of a market's relative B2C cross-border ecommerce attractiveness. South Korea scored four out of five possible "shopping carts” on the BFI, indicating that it is a "desirable market” for cross border-ecommerce.

South Korea was Borderfree's tenth-largest cross-border market in 2013 by sales volume, and the ecommerce opportunity ahead remains strong. Nearly 80 percent of the country's population is online, making it the most connected country on the planet.

Top spenders who shopped with retailers on the Borderfree platform spent an average of $791 U.S. dollars (USD) each last year. Retail ecommerce spending is forecast to rise from a total of $19.0 billion in 2013 to $25.3 billion by 2017, an increase of more than 33 percent.
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