Jul 24, 2013

    Internet opens up new spice routes

    A STUDY released on Monday showed that Internet-powered shopping across national borders has created "modern spice routes" holding wealth for local merchants who tap into the booming trend.

    Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, Britain and the United States will see a combined total of US$105 billion (S$133 billion) in "cross-border online shopping" this year and that figure should nearly triple to US$307 billion in the next five years, according to Nielsen research commissioned by Internet financial-transaction service PayPal.

    "Traditionally, the small merchant was left out," PayPal president David Marcus said of local shops competing globally for customers. "Here comes the Internet, and small merchants can basically make the world their backyard market."

    More than 25 per cent of transactions handled by PayPal involve cross-border purchases, according to Mr Marcus.

    Of the markets studied for a report titled "Modern Spice Routes", the US was the most popular cross-border shopping destination, followed by Britain, China and Hong Kong.