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DHL, a world leader in courier services, has published research highlighting the significant growth opportunity for retailers and manufacturers selling internationally. The report “The 21st Century Spice Trade: A Guide to the Cross-Border E-Commerce Opportunity” looks in detail at the motivations and preferences of customers buying internationally on-line and the success factors for online retailers who want to sell overseas.

The report shows that cross-border e-commerce can lead to an increase in sales that would be very difficult to reach in retail in other ways: cross-border retail volumes are predicted to increase at an annual average rate of 25% between 2015 and 2020. Online retailers are also boosting sales by 10-15% on average simply by extending their offering to international customers.

The report is based on research and interviews carried out by a leading global management consultancy, and over 1,800 responses to a survey of retailers and manufacturers in six countries. It highlights and explains some of the ways that e-commerce is rapidly changing and shows how manufacturers are increasingly taking advantage of e-commerce to move to direct retail models, taking out the ‘middleman’ and selling their products online to the end customer. These manufacturers apparently expect to grow 30% faster in cross-border e-commerce than other retailer groups.