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8 facts about ecommerce in Europe every online retailer should know

By Marjorie van Elven



Do you have an online shop located in an European country or shipping to Europe? The latest report on the state of European ecommerce, published by the Ecommerce Foundation, is full of useful insights. FashionUnited summarizes its main takeaways below.

1. Most B2C ecommerce is concentrated in Western Europe

Western Europeans are the ones most used to shopping online, as most B2C ecommerce is concentrated in this region. Who’s shopping the most? The Swiss, the British, the Danes and the Dutch, respectively. 88 percent of Swiss consumers using the Internet reported shopping online at least once last year, against 87 percent of the British, 86 percent of the Danes and 84 percent of the Dutch.

2. Northern Europe is where consumers spend the most money online

Northern Europe not only has the highest Internet penetration in the continent, at 93 percent, but it’s also the region where consumers tend to spend the most online, which can be explained by the higher cost of living in Scandinavia. The average Scandinavian shopper spent an average of 2046 euros online last year. Western Europe comes second, with an average of 1974 euros spent per shopper.

3. Eastern Europe still prefers shopping in brick and mortar stores

Kosovo and Montenegro are the European countries where people are most likely to refrain from buying online and head to a physical store instead. 55 percent of Kosovians prefer shopping in-store, as do 52 percent of shoppers in Montenegro. Romania, Cyprus and Bulgaria also manifested a preference for brick and mortar stores.

4. The Polish have embraced online shopping like no one else

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Poland, where only 2 percent of consumers using the Internet said they prefer shopping in physical stores. They’re followed by the UK, where only 10 percent of shoppers would refrain from shopping online and the Netherlands (11 percent).

5. Payment security is an issue for the Portuguese

Portuguese shoppers are the most concerned about payment security: 29 percent of them mentioned this as a reason for not shopping online. The Turkish come second, with a quarter of consumers feeling suspicious about payment online. They’re followed by the Hungarians: 20 percent of consumers using the Internet in Hungary worry about safety when paying for an online purchase.

6. Small countries are cross-border shopping champions

Malta is where online shoppers are most likely to buy from a shop located in another EU country: 89 percent of online purchases made in Malta in 2018 were cross-border. The island is followed by Cyprus (83 percent) and Luxembourg (82 percent). This may be due to the size of these countries.

7. B2C ecommerce turnover is growing steadily across Europe

European B2C ecommerce turnover is expected to grow 13.6 percent in 2019, compared to 11.8 percent in 2018 and 13.9 percent in 2017. It is expected to reach 621 billion euros (approximately 700 billion US dollars or 557 billion pounds) in 2019, up from 547 million euros (617 billion US dollars or 490 billion pounds) in 2018.

8. Amazon, eBay and AliExpress are the most popular marketplaces in Europe

Well-known marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy and AliExpress have a large influence in the European ecommerce market. They are also a way for small and medium-sized companies to enter the scene without having to set up their own channel. But there are prominent local marketplaces as well, such as Bol.com (Benelux region), Zalando (several countries) and Wildberries (Russia).

Most popular online shops in Europe

  • Austria: Amazon
  • Belgium: Bol.com
  • Denmark: Zalando
  • Finland: Verkkokauppa.com
  • France: Amazon
  • Germany: Amazon
  • Hungary: Edigital.hu
  • Italy: Amazon
  • The Netherlands: Bol.com
  • Norway: Komplett
  • Poland: Allegro
  • Portugal: AliExpress
  • Romania: eMag.ro
  • Russia: Wildberries.ru
  • Spain: Amazon
  • Sweden: Apotea
  • Switzerland: Digitech.ch
  • UK: New Look

Image: Pixabay, courtesy of Ecommerce Foundation

Ecommerce Foundation