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More U.S. online shoppers looking abroad for purchases

Almost half of online shoppers in the U.S. (47 percent) are now purchasing from international retailers, a UPS study has found. So, while it’s no secret that e-commerce is redefining the national economy, this latest information suggests that even borders are under pressure.

The news has immediate implications for the integrators, which specialize in moving the sort of small packages that make up e-commerce purchases, but even combination carriers like AA Cargo are looking at utilizing their bellyhold space to accommodate these new volumes.

“The lines that separate domestic and international retailers continue to disappear,” said Alan Gershenhorn, chief commercial officer for UPS.

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While the Trump administration rails against German cars and cheap imports from China, U.S. consumers seem to be taking matters into their own hands. That’s not necessarily bad news for the U.S. economy, and certainly not for its consumers.

Cross border e-commerce represents market opportunities for American companies like, which is already setting up logistics centers in mainland China to accommodate the impending surge in volumes.

One the SME level, Chinese consumers are even more disposed to cross-border e-commerce. Alibaba boss Jack Ma was recently in the United States touting the potential for one million U.S. jobs through U.S.-to-China cross border e-commerce. A recent Stanford Business report stated that U.S.-to-China business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce was a “large and expanding trade corridor, presenting a sizable opportunity for U.S. merchants and logistics providers to expand their business.”

According to eMarketer, cross-border e-commerce is projected to grow at an annual average of 22 percent between 2015 and 2020. On the domestic level, U.S. e-commerce will grow at a statelier 15 percent during the same time period.

It’s not just China. American Airlines Cargo manager for Florida, Caribbean and Latin America (FCLA), Lorena Sandoval noted AA Cargo was seeing, “increasing demand for packaging as people buy more and more online from Amazon, Ali Baba and others.” With Brazil’s economy on the cusp of recovery, that trend could accelerate.


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