Millennials & Gen Z say social media is their top channel for discovering international brands

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Public Relations

Brands are finding new ways to directly engage with global consumers to catch their attention. Social media has become a popular tool for shoppers to become acquainted with brands, with 75 percent of respondents in a new survey from direct-to-consumer (D2C) cross border e-commerce firm Global-e Online Ltd. reporting they purchased from a brand after engaging with it on at least one social network—and both millennial (54 percent) and Gen-Z (55 percent) consumers report social media as their number one channel for discovering international brands, topping online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

The firm’s new report, Cross-Border e-Commerce Shopper Survey—a Dive into Consumer Behavior and Preferences, with research partner Censuswide, speaks to the remarkable rise of D2C e-commerce, particularly for consumers buying across borders. When asked their preferred platform for buying a branded product, over half of respondents (58 percent) said they prefer buying directly from a brand’s website, beating out marketplaces (40 percent) and local resellers (35 percent).

Why do online shoppers buy cross-border?

Millennials & Gen Z say social media is their top channel for discovering international brands

When shopping online, respondents also indicated that the main drivers of cross-border shopping are product price (47 percent), wider variety of products (37 percent) and better quality (28 percent).

Among social media channels particularly, Instagram remains the favored platform among shoppers to engage directly with brands and ultimately, make a purchase (62 percent). But TikTok is undisputedly on the rise, with over half of Gen Z consumers (60 percent) choosing it as their preferred channel.

Using social media to discover international brands:

Millennials & Gen Z say social media is their top channel for discovering international brands

Additional key findings in the report include:

  • Nearly half of respondents (43 percent) would shop again directly from an international website they already made a purchase from if the shopping experience was easy and streamlined.
  • Respondents are willing to shop cross-border for many different categories, including clothing & accessories (61 percent), electronics & tech (30 percent), health & beauty (30 percent), and jewelry & watches (26 percent).
  • When asked why they would abandon their cart, half of respondents (50 percent) cited shipping cost too expensive, followed by delivery time too lengthy (42 percent) and unclear return policy (26 percent). And 25 percent will not place an order if they are not provided with the final cost of their purchase.
  • Over half (53 percent) of consumers made their most recent cross-border online purchase using a mobile device.

“Supply chain disruptions and rampant inflation brought on by major global events have cemented for retailers and brands the importance of reaching more customers across more geographies through global e-commerce,” said Nir Debbi, founder and president of Global-e, in a news release.

The leading social media platforms among cross-border ecommerce shoppers:

Millennials & Gen Z say social media is their top channel for discovering international brands

“Selling online to markets worldwide enables brands to establish new revenue streams and minimize their risk, while still accommodating consumers’ constantly evolving spending habits,” Debbi said. “This survey reinforces that shoppers are increasingly making purchases directly from international brands and are keen to be geographically agnostic. But it’s critical that retailers hear their demands, so they can build sustainable and successful cross-border strategies.”

Download the full report here.

Censuswide surveyed 9,000 consumers across nine different markets who, in the last year, have made a purchase online from a retailer based outside of their country.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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