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Report: global trade patterns impacted by e-commerce growth

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In a recent survey, shippers named cybersecurity and changing trade regulations as their biggest e-commerce concerns.

Retailers are chasing business opportunities in cross-border e-commerce, but even as they enter new markets they are finding hurdles such as changing regulations and cybersecurity, according to a report released Friday.

More than one-third of respondents to a poll of supply chain professionals said they had experienced shipping and transportation challenges that impacted retailers' ability to meet their goals, the report found.

One reason is that business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce has empowered consumers with higher expectations for their retail shopping experience, according to the study from the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) and global trade management (GTM) software provider Amber Road. The report, titled "Benchmark Report: e-Commerce Impacts Global Trade," draws on data from a January 2017 survey of more than 250 supply chain professionals such as manufacturers, shippers, logistics providers, and other related service providers.

"While there is clearly a large market opportunity associated with global e-commerce, there are challenges identified in the report that companies must face to create a successful e-commerce infrastructure," Gary Barraco, director, global product marketing, Amber Road, said in a release. "To stay ahead of the e-commerce curve, companies must address primary gaps with a combination of technology, trade compliance knowledge, and automation."

With global revenues of $91.7 billion during the 2016 peak holiday season, e-commerce has reached a critical mass to significantly impact global trade, the study found, citing market statistics from Adobe Digital Insights.

"While the disruptive force e-commerce has on the economy appears most prominently in the retail sector, this latest digitalization of trade will continue to change industry trade patterns and product distribution for years to come," AAEI president and CEO Marianne Rowden said in the release. "With growing internet penetration, a consistent customer shift from store to web shopping, and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, the growth of online shopping is massive."

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