Cross-border E-commerce in a Post-pandemic World

With CoVid-19 shaking up economies worldwide, it’s undeniable how its impact has trickled down to every business around the world.

With CoVid-19 shaking up economies worldwide, it’s undeniable how its impact has trickled down to every business around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more severe impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than expected, according to an IMF assessment, and the recovery is expected to be more sluggish than previously expected. Global growth is expected to be 5.4 percent in 2021.

However, the e-commerce sector saw an outrageous boom during this time. The pandemic caused a significant shift in consumer patterns which prolonged a boom in online shopping, transforming e-commerce globally. As the world became more global, cross-border e-commerce, or the online sale of goods to customers in various countries, became a key growth engine for e-commerce companies worldwide. Despite persisting cross-country discrepancies, the COVID-19 issue increased volatility in the e-commerce sector and broadened the breadth of e-commerce, especially through new enterprises, customer segments, and specific items. In many nations, e-commerce transactions moved away from luxury items and services and toward basic necessities. 

According to UNCTAD, online business-to-consumer (B2C) sales boosted in billions during 2020. 

Source: UNCTAD, based on national statistics offices.

As a result of the outbreak, people developed new shopping patterns, which presented an opportunity for e-commerce retailers. COVID-19 had a minimal to no detrimental effect on discretionary item brands and retailers who trade online throughout various areas (Asia, the United States, and Europe). Some of these brands reported an overall boost in their online sales. An overall positive trend was seen in online demand across all markets, balancing between markets that are slightly affected, deeply affected, and those that are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel where demand is picking back up, with the exception of specific supply chain issues and a short-term drop in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Supply Chain Impacts

According to a new analysis from Technavio, the cross-border e-commerce logistics market is predicted to increase by USD 44.61 billion between 2021 and 2025. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2021, this signals a considerable market slowdown compared to the growth predictions for 2020. Furthermore, according to the analysis, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 11%.

Market experts analysed that the e-commerce and express delivery industries also expanded in air cargo in China and around the world. Despite a decreasing growth rate during the pandemic due to price spikes caused by capacity constraints, cross-border e-commerce got on track to account for 20% of global air cargo shipments by 2022, doubling its share since 2017.

Post-pandemic Evolvement

Global Freight Forwarding 2021 delved even deeper into technology, examining the software that underpins freight forwarding services, evaluating the techniques used by different forwarders to expand their capabilities, and presenting profiles of the solutions available. There's a new digital landscape market map and profiles of the top players to highlight how their skills are evolving. According to the latest research, they are increasingly competing with established forwarders by offering a comprehensive suite of end-to-end value-added services and purchasing important assets to do so, all while relying on their technology foundation. As they invest in assets and customer service teams alongside their technology to offer additional end-to-end and value-added services, digital forwarders are becoming more competitive. 

Cross-border shipping might seem like a challenge, but by utilising cutting-edge multi-carrier software platforms, understanding the complexities of import taxes and international shipping rules, and selecting the right overseas fulfilment partner, SMEs can tap into the thriving world of global e-commerce. By doing so, companies can successfully address the logistical issues of international e-commerce and scale their operations globally, breaking down obstacles to expansion and opening up a world of new prospects.