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The United States and Europe are the two largest markets in the world. But they are not the same. Differences in culture, language and laws make it difficult to compare the two markets.

 In August 2022, ChannelAdvisor surveyed 1,000 consumers in the US and 3,000 consumers in the three largest e-commerce markets in Europe: the UK, Germany and France. We’ve asked the same question time and time again, so it’s time to take a closer look at the answers and analyze what they reveal, especially for those with a global e-commerce presence.

At the end of this article, you will see the differences between European and United States consumers. You’ll also get tips for adjusting your marketing and sales strategy, including identifying new customers, understanding their motivations, and increasing customer acquisition and satisfaction.

  1. The popularity of e-commerce models can vary 

Europeans and Americans have different preferences when it comes to online shopping. These two areas have different shopping styles and cultures. 

And these different interests can make or break your business.

 The variety of e-commerce products is not as popular in the United States as it is in Europe. We asked our respondents what products they bought online in the past 12 months, and found some notable differences.

 Europeans are less likely than Americans to shop online in the following ways: 

However, Europeans can buy in the following formats: 

  1. Europe’s e-commerce rates are soaring 

Inflation has been a problem lately, but it’s not just about price increases: it also affects how consumers spend their money. In September 2022, the inflation rate in the United States in all things except food and energy was 6.6% per year. During the same period, the average for France, Germany and the United Kingdom was lower, at 4.5%.

 But when asked how much they spent online compared to the previous 12 months, 37.7% of Americans said they were spending more, compared to just 28.6% of Europeans. 

they expected to spend more online than in 2021, but only 23.0% of Europeans said the same. 

Finally, it seems that in this era of inflation, American consumers are more likely to turn to e-commerce to save money on their spending.

  1. UK and French consumers are brand loyal 

Brands are big players in e-commerce, and they are growing in importance with the increasing popularity of direct sales channels. Here are some key differences between US and EU buyers to consider when planning their international e-commerce strategy: 

  1. When it comes to price, cultural differences are important 

US sellers who want to reach European buyers must make different payments. And specifically, they must understand the cultural differences related to cost. Our research shows that European consumers are 7.2% cheaper than US consumers to compare prices across multiple websites before making a purchase. But they are almost twice (1.95 times) more likely to use shopping carts.

  1. Public business is not important 

New e-commerce trends are popping up left and right. But adoption varies by region. In recent years, social media product research is one. We asked our respondents how they identified the products they had purchased in the past 12 months. Almost a third (31.2%) of US respondents mentioned social media (eg Facebook, Instagram, TikTok), but only 18.5% of Europeans mentioned social media. Similarly, 20.4% of Americans said that social media and advertising from influencers lead to research and purchase of products, but only 12.4% of Europeans did the same.

Europeans are less likely to research products on social media: they are 39.6% who use Facebook for product research and 26.5% rarely use Instagram

  1. Amazon is big in Europe, but not that big 

Amazon has a large presence in the United States and also in Europe. It has, of course, regional versions in France (Amazon.fr), the United Kingdom (Amazon.co.uk) and Germany (Amazon.de), but it also works in Italy, Spain, and in Poland.

 In the United States, 52.2% of respondents said they usually start researching products on Amazon when they want to buy. Only 43.4% of European shoppers start with Amazon. 57.0% of Americans bought something on Amazon after seeing an ad for it on Amazon, but seeing an ad on Amazon made 44.7% of Europeans buy.

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