Online cross-border shopping is booming, according to a recent study commissioned by Internet financial payment service company PayPal. Japanese retail companies, both small and large, would do well to understand this trend and reposition themselves to offer Japan's rich consumer culture and wide array of well-made, well-designed goods to the world.

Unfortunately Japan seems to be lagging behind. According to the survey, the United States was the most popular cross-border shopping destination, followed by Britain, China and Hong Kong. Those countries along with Canada, Australia and Germany will see a total of $105 billion in cross-border online shopping this year. That figure is projected to triple over the next five years.

Japan, however, has only a small part of this total. Its consumer economy remains largely inside Japan and in Japanese. Online, Japanese are still mostly buying from abroad but not yet selling.