As the coronavirus spread in the United States, stateside shoppers purchased more from e-retailers outside of their home country, new research reveals.

While consumers across the world may still be leery of venturing out to physical stores, many aren’t apprehensive about shopping online from retailers outside their home countries.

Cross-border online sales worldwide have increased by 21% from Jan. 1 to June 14 compared with the same period a year ago, according to Global-e, a vendor that helps web merchants sell online globally. The report analyzed online retail sales of apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear items worldwide from 300 of its retail customers selling to more than 185 countries. It used order and shipping data for its findings.

Despite slowdowns across some of the regions when the pandemic reached its peak, sales have bounced back in many countries, the vendor says. In May, global cross-border online sales grew 42%, with June showing the same positive growth trend.

And, as the coronavirus spread in the United States, stateside shoppers purchased more from e-retailers outside of their home country, the research finds. For example, in April, cross-border web sales grew 7% year over year, while such sales surged 42% in May, bringing total U.S. cross-border ecommerce growth to 10.2% from January to mid-June.


Meanwhile, global luxury cross-border web sales grew 39% year over year in both April and May. “Especially noticeable is the Gulf region, with luxury cross-border online sales to this region booming since April,” the report notes. Overall, from Jan 1.-June 14, cross-border luxury ecommerce sales have increased 17.5% across all countries analyzed.

The report also notes:

Western Europe: During the height of the pandemic in the region, Western European shoppers buying online from countries outside the region dropped in February and March by 2% and 11% year over year, respectively. However, in April and May, the region saw a 23% and 30% year-over-year growth in cross-border ecommerce sales, resulting in an overall 9.5% year-over-year increase as of mid-June.


 The Gulf region: Ahead of Ramadan in April, cross-border web sales grew 115% year over year in March, then surged to 575% year-over-year growth in April and 236% in May. From Jan. 1 to June 14, cross-border ecommerce sales have grown 214% year over year.

Australia and New Zealand: Lockdowns that started in late March triggered a brief downturn in discretionary cross-border ecommerce purchases in response to a lack of consumer confidence. However, April and May saw a sharp rise in ecommerce, with May cross-border web sales up 29% year over year. Overall, the region’s cross-border online sales increased by 10% Jan. 1-June 14.

Online’s share of total retail sales has grown significantly across markets worldwide since the pandemic. And a survey by Global Web Index  of 17,143 internet users conducted in May across 20 countries found that 46% of shoppers plan to shop online more frequently after the pandemic subsides. That’s up from April, when 43% claimed that they plan to shop more after the crisis.