As the Internet continues to make the world smaller, cross-border purchases continue to be fuelled by online shopping and mobile access. Online payments are arriving at global retailers from all over, and it is beneficial for businesses to understand why.

Online shopping rises
Better Internet infrastructure has led to an increase in online shopping among underdeveloped nations, while the popularity of smartphones has increased purchases in net-savvy countries. Shopping online is incredibly convenient and time-saving for consumers. No need to plan your day around a car trip; if you have Internet access, you can shop nearly whenever and wherever you are. Shoppers use the Internet to search for deals, browse a wider variety of products and compare prices and reviews. A study of business-to-business purchasers from Forrester Research revealed the majority (74 percent) spent time online researching a significant portion of their supplies. Unfortunately, online payments only accounted for about 10 percent of B2B sales. This suggests that sellers could be doing more to encourage shoppers to complete their transactions.

Of course, online shopping is not just an American trend. The Telegraph reported that e-commerce in the U.K. is expected to reach 50 billion pounds in 2018. Currently, online shopping contributes to 30 percent of the nation's economy. Again, these consumers are showing an increasing preference for smartphone and tablet purchases. Second screening – or consuming media on two separate devices, such as watching TV while shopping on a tablet – could also contribute to rising sales numbers.

Cross-border payments
As more global payment solutions become available, consumers now have the option of looking beyond their own countries for products. Studies show they are indeed doing so: 45 percent of Canadian Internet shoppers are buying from other nations. A recent PayPal report revealed that frequency of cross-border purchases are incredibly high in Ireland, Israel and Austria. Meanwhile, a quarter of the world's online shoppers are buying from the U.S. Consumers find that shopping internationally can lead them to new products not available at home, as well as better prices on locally found goods.

Mobile continues to drive online payments
Buying an item via mobile has maintained its popularity and is likely to stay a contributor to e-commerce trends worldwide. Juniper research found that tablet- and smartphone-enabled transactions are expected to surpass 9.9 billion by 2018. In 2014, use of the shopping category on Android devices rose 220 percent, according to the mobile analytics company Flurry. Expanding into mobile and allowing for electronic payments is a great way for a business to reach increasing numbers of consumers.

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