Things Americans Like to Buy Abroad

USA is heaven for shopping clothes, gadgets, makeup, toys, and other consumer goods. And there is no surprise, because many of the latest technology products, celebrity merch, sensational market novelties are sold exclusively on the US market. According to a Statista report, retail e-commerce sales in the United States will be growing at a fast pace in the coming years, increasing from 322.17 billion US dollars in 2016 to just over 485 billion US dollars in 2021.

However, Americans do not limit their online shopping to domestic purchases only. US consumers increasingly buy from abroad simply because the product is not available in the US, and occasionally from countries that produce cheaper alternatives to US goods. Overseas shopping growth was spurred by the trade law announced on March 10, 2016, according to which individual US consumers can now import goods worth as much as $800 in a single day without duty or import tax.

What are US consumers shopping for abroad if pretty much anything is available to them domestically? What countries offer goods that the US does not? Here at Parcl we decided to explore American overseas shopping habits. The research is based on almost 3,000 orders for shipping to the US, with goods totalling $937,666.43.


Where Americans shop: Top 5 countries

While most US consumers still shop online within their own country, many of them turn to shopping at foreign stores. According to our research, almost 45% of all foreign products ordered through Parcl were shipped from the United Kingdom and Australia with around 30% and 15% of delivery orders respectively.



The reason why Americans prefer to shop in the UK and Australia is obvious - there’s no language barrier. Another reason is that the UK, one of the biggest online retail markets, is a country of origin for many well-known brands and retailers such as Selfridges, Topshop, Allsaints, Marks & Spencer, Next, etc. What’s more, UK Amazon and eBay often offer goods that can’t be found at their US divisions. Average cost of shipping of one item from the UK to the US was around $15. Average weight of the package from the UK was 5 kg. Average items total in the order was around $238.
Americans love shopping in Australia just as much as Australians love to buy US goods. Australian retailers such as The Iconic, David Jones, Priceline, Ecoya, Australian divisions of Amazon and eBay are very popular among US consumers. Average cost of shipping of one item from Australia to the US was around US$7 (or $16 per kilogram). Average package from Australia weighed 3.6 kg.
Third country where Americans shop is Germany, with almost 7% of orders. According to Parcl stats, it cost $18 to ship 1 item from Germany to the US. Average package sent from Germany to the US weighed 1.8 kg. Average items tital in the order shipped from germany to the USA was around $238.
Germany is followed by Canada (6.4%). Delivery of 1 item from Canada to the US cost around US$7.5, average package weight was 5.8kg. The most popular Canadian stores where US consumers shop are Canadian divisions of Amazon, Forever21, H&M, Footlocker, and Canada-based Hudson’s Bay (
6.2% of all orders analyzed were shipped to the US from France, which made this country #5 on our list of the Top-5 overseas shopping destinations for Americans. Shipping of one item from France cost $21, the average package weight was 2.8kg.

Two other countries outside the Top-5 shopping destinations for Americans are Japan (5.84%) and Italy (5.71%).


What Americans buy abroad: Top 5 product categories

At Parcl there are 12 product categories. Share of goods ordered to the US per category is displayed in the chart below:



We’ve analyzed items in each of the 3,000 orders and found, that 41% of all items ordered were clothes, shoes, or accessories. Here are just a few examples of what Americans order:



Dirndl Dress 

Shipped from Germany


Louis Vuitton Petit Malle Clutch

Shipped from France


Blind Guardian Valhalla T-Shirt

Shipped from the UK


The second most popular product category with 13% of items delivered was the Beauty & Health segment, including health supplements, perfume, makeup, hair care and nail care products.



Zlatan Black Nomad EDT 100 ML

Shipped from Sweden


Manuka Honey

Shipped from Canada

Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

Repair Shampoo & Conditioner

Shipped from the Netherlands


10% of products ordered were laptops, PC parts, game consoles, and smaller consumer gadgets. In 6% of analyzed cases, US consumers purchased home decorations, furniture, houseware and household gadgets from abroad.



Nintendo Classic Mini

Shipped from Italy


Mathmos Lava Lamp

Shipped from the UK


Handmade Silver Set

Shipped from India


The 5th most popular product category was Art, Hobbies, Collectibles & Gifts. Here are a few items US shoppers purchased at foreign stores.



Star Wars Jyn Erso Figure

Shipped from Australia


Authentic Gryffindor Robe

Shipped from the UK


Harley Benton Bass Guitar

Shipped from the UK


217.1 million people in the US shop online. These figures are projected to reach 224 million in 2019. With the global growth of e-commerce and cross-border shopping, Americans continue to explore foreign markets, where they find items that are either unavailable in the US or cost less than in the US. For instance, it is cheaper to buy luxury brands in Europe.

This article provides general information based on independent research. Parcl assumes no liability for the information given being complete or correct. Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date data than referenced in the text.

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1 week ago
I'm curious why France is TOP5? Can you explain?
1 week ago
Alex, thank you for the question. According to our research and several third-party articles, many Americans prefer to buy luxury fashion products and makeup items in France. Products by such brands as Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Louboutin, Caudalie, Klorane, etc. can be found at lower prices in France. What is more, new items are released in France before they are available in the US. And finally, Americans can benefit from the EU VAT refund for export from the EU. Hope this makes it clearer. Thank you!
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