menu
lightspeed ecommerce

Ecommerce in Europe

Information about ecommerce in EuropeThe ecommerce industry in Europe consists of three major markets, upcoming countries and thriving startup scenes. But it’s difficult to see the European ecommerce industry as one, as it consists of several regions that all play their own role. Let´s have a look at ecommerce in Europe.

CONTINENT
EUROPE
Population 743.1 million people
– % internet users (EU) 85%
Online sales €621 billion (2019)
Online stores worth mentioning: Otto, Tesco, CDiscount, Bol.com, Zalando, H&M

Content:

Ecommerce customers in Europe

A Mastercard survey from 2017 shows that one in four Europeans who have internet access have shopped online at least once a week, while over 60 percent shopped online once a month and 6 percent even bought products or services via the internet every day. You can read more about online consumer behavior in Europe on our dedicated page.

Cards account for the largest share of business-to-consumer ecommerce transactions in Europe, as research from yStats.com shows. Digital wallets are second best. In the UK, credit cards are very popular: about four in ten online transactions are paid this way. Debit cards account for 35 percent of all online transactions, while PayPal is the country’s third most used online payment method. Germans like to pay with invoice, while French consumers use debit card Carte-Blue, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal. In the Benelux, iDeal (the Netherlands) and Bancontact (Belgium) are very popular. For more common payment methods in Europe, check out our overview of the most popular online payment methods in Europe.

The ecommerce market in Europe

Data from 2014 shows that in the UK, Germany, France, the Benelux, the Nordics, Spain, Italy and Poland clothing and footwear are amongst the most popular product categories, just like home electronics and books.

Popular product categories in Europe 2014

Ecommerce sales in Europe grew to 621 billion euros in 2019. Most of the online turnover is still being generated in Western Europe, which accounts for approximately 66 percent of total European online retail turnover. Southern Europe, Northern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe show a much lower share of European ecommerce with 14, 9, 6 and 4 percent respectively.

Ecommerce turnover in Europe, from 2013 to 2019.
Ecommerce turnover in Europe, from 2013 to 2019.

As the Centre for Retail Research has found out, apart from the UK and Germany, market shares are comparatively low in many European countries. In 2016, the average online share of the European countries surveyed was 8 percent, while it’s expected to reach 8.8 percent in 2017. Countries where the ecommerce industry accounts for a fair share of total retail sales are the UK (17.8 percent forecast for 2017), Germany (15.1 percent) and France (10 percent). Not surprisingly, these are the biggest ecommerce countries in Europe. Other countries with high market shares are Sweden and the Netherlands.

Source: Centre for Retail Research

Big online stores in Europe

Of course, major American retailers have their influence on local ecommerce industries in Europe. As a matter of fact, Amazon was the most-visited online marketplace in Europe in 2018. But that’s not to say Europe doesn’t have its own ‘Amazons’. In Internet Retailer’s top 10 list of biggest online retailers in Europe, Amazon, Staples and Apple are the only American retailers. The list also contains Otto (Germany), Tesco (UK), Groupe Casino (France), Shop Direct Group, Home Retail Group (both UK), Zalando (Germany) and John Lewis (UK). And then there’s this list of top 10 online stores in Europe, which features Amazon (on 7th place) as the only non-European player in that list.

Latest news about Europe

65% of online retailers in Europe needed extra finance

Two thirds of online merchants in Europe have needed extra finance in the past two years. Loans carried out after the outbreak of the corona virus aren’t included in this statistic. Online merchants need a loan the most for buying equipment.

Facebook Shops launched

Facebook has launched its own ecommerce platform called Facebook Shops. The service can be used on both Facebook and Instagram, with the products displayed through pages, stories and advertisements. In the future, placing an order in WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct will also be possible.

57% of Europeans shop online more than ever

Europe has turned into a continent of online shoppers during the corona crisis. Since the beginning of the current contact restrictions, 57 percent of European consumers shop online more than ever. About one in three Europeans (30 percent) are spending more money on virtual experiences.

Zalando: ‘double-digit growth in 2020’

Zalando expects to grows its Gross Merchandise Volume by 10 to 20 percent this year. Its revenue is also expected to increase in the same range. Meanwhile, the overall fashion market is expected to decrease by about 28 percent due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Zalando sells textile masks

Today, Zalando has started the online sales of textile masks in Europe. The disposable masks are sold at an affordable price in all 17 markets and the profit will go to international efforts against the coronavirus.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Europe.

Last update: June 2019