When most people think about dropshipping, they think of dropshipping in the USA! And why not, the USA has a massive population, they have a large disposable income and they love spending money online.
So is it really worth dropshipping to other countries?
Dropshipping outside the USA is worth it depending on the countries you target. Although some other countries have a smaller population and GDP per capita, they are often far less saturated, advertising costs are much lower and there are more potential gaps in the market to be found.
In this article, I will cover all the necessary information so you can decide whether you believe dropshipping internationally is worth it, how best to go about it and which countries you should consider dropshipping to and which countries you should avoid.
Can You Dropship From Anywhere in the World?
The internet is a wonderful thing in that you are not necessarily held back based on which patch of dirt you were lucky or unlucky enough to be born on. The internet is equalizer meaning you can be successful no matter the country you live in as long as you have access to an internet connection.
You can live in Pakistan and purchase products from China and sell them to people in the UK whilst you’re on holiday in Bali. So the answer is yes, you can dropship from anywhere in the world and sell to anywhere in the world.
This does not mean you may not have additional challenges you need to face depending on the country you live in and the country you plan to sell to.
For example, the most profitable countries for dropshipping are English speaking countries, if you don’t speak the language you may need to learn or use language translator apps.
You also may not know the culture of other countries and understand the trends or interests of certain countries and which products or niches are the most profitable.
Using a VPN may be an option in countries where they do not accept some payment processor options.
None of these challenges should stop you if you are determined enough, you should be able to find a way around many of these roadblocks.
For information on US dropshipping from another country, I suggest you read my article Dropshipping to the USA as a non-US citizen.
Is Dropshipping Profitable Outside the USA?
There’s no denying the fact that the US is very profitable. Check out the table below for how profitable the US and China’s eCommerce dominance is worldwide.
|Country||Annual Online Sales||Worldwide |
|South Korea||120 billion||2.5%|
The US and China combined make up 71% of the eCommerce sales worldwide. That may appear like it’s pointless to dropship outside of the US but there is good news.
You don’t necessarily need a huge population to make a lot of money online. I live in Australia with a relatively small population of 25 million people.
Let’s say I found some weird obscure product such as “cat socks” that nobody was selling in Australia (I checked they already are). I would make a heap of money because you only need a tiny percentage of people to make a good income.
By targeting smaller countries for dropshipping, you have a smaller audience to target but you also have fewer competitors targeting that audience which has its pros and cons. There is obviously less potential money that can be made but it also makes it easier to differentiate yourself from your competitors and gain a share of the market
According to Statista, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) has many other countries above the US. Although the US is in no danger of being surpassed anytime soon, it does mean there is some real potential in the coming years from countries that are not being targeted by drop shippers.
Another thing to consider is Amazon is huge in the US. According to pymnts, 56.7% of the online retail sales were made on Amazon in the US in 2021.
This number is significantly lower in most other countries providing more opportunities for online stores to take a piece of Jeff Bezos’s massive pie.
Is it Worth Dropshipping Internationally if you Live in the USA?
It might seem obvious that if you’re dropshipping in the USA you should just expand your customer base and start dropshipping worldwide. There is no exact answer to this question and it will depend on several factors:
Which countries will shipping carriers ship the products to?
Even when working with suppliers from AliExpress and Alibaba, many will only work with a limited number of shipping carriers. If you plan to sell to India, South Africa or some European countries, the shipping carriers may not ship to these countries at all.
Are the shipping costs too high to make it a viable option?
Are the products your selling large, heavy or fragile? If so, the products may cost far too much to ship and will eat into your profit margins.
Will customs make it difficult to ship?
Depending on the country you’re selling to and the products you’re selling, customs may interfere or customs fees could make it difficult to be profitable. If you have trouble shipping large orders from China, contact Border Buddy as they are experts in getting packages through customs.
Is your product legal in other countries?
Each country will have different rules and regulations for what can be legally sold and safety regulations for some products.
Are your products in demand in other countries?
Just because a product is popular in the US does not mean it will be popular worldwide. I would recommend using Google trends to check the search volume in specific countries.
Which countries are safe to ship to?
There is a risk of scammers and fraudulent orders in every country, however, in some countries, this risk is greatly increased. Check out which countries are the biggest culprits of online scammers in this article.
Are you ordering in bulk?
Are you planning to order your inventory in bulk from China? If so, you may be using a fulfillment center to ship your products domestically. If you plan to ship to multiple countries you will need to make sure the country you’re shipping to has fulfillment centers that can pick, pack and ship your products at a fair price.
Do Dropshipping Suppliers Ship Internationally?
If you’re dropshipping from China using AliExpress or Alibaba, the suppliers will be happy to ship anywhere in the world as long as their shipping carrier actually ships there.
There are some shipping lines that will only ship to a limited number of countries. If you choose to use a well known shipping option such as AliExpress standard shipping or Cainiao, they will ship to most countries.
However, just because Chinese suppliers can ship worldwide, does not mean you should ship worldwide. For some countries, the shipping times are very long and very expensive.
I suggest you read my article here for a guide to AliExpress’s shipping times to gauge which countries have the longest shipping times.
If you’re dealing with domestic suppliers in the US, they will all have different policies regarding international dropshipping. Many of them will have it listed on their website or you will need to contact them directly to find out.
Generally, it’s not worthwhile for drop shippers to ship products internationally if it’s a low cost item. If it’s a high ticket item and it’s not oversized, you will find many of these suppliers will ship internationally.
The Big 4 Dropshipping Countries
You may have heard many drop shippers on YouTube talk about the big 4 countries for dropshipping.
These countries include the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia. These countries are the most targeted by drop shippers because they all have high English speaking proficiency, they all have a high GDP and they’re all big online spenders.
Many people may add New Zealand to the big 4 making it the big 5. Others leave it out as it has a small population of 5 million.
If you are dropshipping from China, selling to the UK, Canada and Australia is a great option as long as the shipping prices are reasonable and the shipping times are not too long. Generally, the shipping times to the US are a little faster than these other countries depending on the shipping carrier, be aware of this.
Canada and Australia are not as densely populated as the US and the UK. This means shipping within these countries is different. There are parts of Australia and Canada that are very expensive to ship to as there are far more remote areas that can often be more difficult to access.
The shipping times will be long and the prices will be high. You need to either make it clear that you don’t sell to these areas or you have different prices depending on their location.
Which Country is Best for Dropshipping?
I have a whole article on the best countries to target for dropshipping if you want to check it out. But I’ll give you a quick rundown of some countries which I believe can still be profitable outside of the US.
If you want to target countries outside of the big 4, there are several European countries that are great options for dropshipping.
These countries have several things going for them.
They have a high GDP per capita, their English proficiency is high, shipping times and prices from China are reasonable, most of the big payment processors are available, their ad prices are often lower and they aren’t as competitive as many of the big 4 countries because many drop shippers choose not to target these countries.
I am not saying it’s easy to make money in these countries but I do believe as a beginner you are more likely to have some success in these countries.
Which are the Worst Countries for Dropshipping?
The worst countries for dropshipping are obviously the ones you can’t make any money in. I am not going to list a bunch of tiny countries with little access to the internet. I am going to list some of the countries you may have considered dropshipping to and the reasons why you may want to avoid them.
- South Africa
These are the reasons below why I would not dropship to a country. I am not saying all the reasons below apply to all the countries above, however, many of them do apply and why I personally would avoid these countries.
- They don’t have a high English proficiency.
- They have a low average GDP per capita meaning they have less disposable income to spend online.
- They have high rates of online fraud/scams.
- The shipping times from China to these countries are long and expensive.
- They don’t have many domestic suppliers willing to dropship.
- The shipping options within the country are more limited.
- They do not have access to the main payment processors including Paypal, Stripe and Shopify payments.
- They are not big online shoppers.
Can you Dropship in Smaller Countries Profitably?
If you are located in a small country and you plan to exclusively dropship within that country, can you do it profitably?
You can definitely dropship in smaller countries profitably. You will however need to make some changes to your tactics compared to dropshipping in the USA.
When dropshipping in the USA, you can find a large enough audience to target no matter how small and obscure the niche you’re selling. This is not always possible if you’re only targeting a country of 5 million people.
The smaller a country’s population the broader you need to expand your niche so you can target a large enough audience. The big advantage of dropshipping in a smaller country is it’s easier to become an authority within your niche.
To become an authority, my suggestion would be to become very active on social media and create a community of people within your area who are interested in your niche. Another thing many people neglect is creating a blog on their dropshipping store.
A blog answering questions within your niche from people in your country is one of the best and under-utilized methods of driving traffic to your store. Simply Google your niche and allow Google’s auto-suggest tool to tell you what questions your country is asking and answer them in the form of blog articles.
Dropshipping outside the USA is not only worthwhile but can actually be a better option in many circumstances. It really depends on the type of products you’re planning to dropship and the countries you’re planning to target.
If I lived in the USA and was just starting out my dropshipping business, I would probably learn the ropes in the US first before expanding to international dropshipping.
I would suggest reading my article Only dropship to these countries before deciding on dropshipping outside the US. It should provide all the necessary information you require to make the best decision for your business.