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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.

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EUROPE
Population 743.1 million people
– % internet users (EU) 85%
Online sales €717 billion (2020)
Online stores worth mentioning: Otto, Tesco, CDiscount, Bol.com, Zalando, H&M

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Ecommerce customers in Europe

Online shoppers by region in Europe (2019)E-SHOPPERS – Data from Eurostat shows that 32 percent of European consumers shopped online 1 or 2 times in the last three months. And 17 percent did this 6 to 10 times in the same period. Also, 87 percent bought from national ecommerce websites in the last year, while 35 percent ordered from sellers from other EU countries. You can read more about online consumer behavior in Europe on our dedicated page.

PAYMENT METHODS – 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 and are set to be worth 717 billion euros in 2020. Most of the online turnover is still being generated in Western Europe, which accounts for approximately 70 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 15, 7, 6, and 1 percent respectively.

Ecommerce in Europe (2015-2020)

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

27% of Europeans will keep shopping online more

Over a quarter of European consumers will remain shopping more than they did before the coronavirus broke out. And 56 percent buy online three or more products per month during the corona crisis.

AliExpress to shorten delivery times in Europe by 30%

AliExpress will shorten its delivery times in some parts of Europe by 30 percent. This is the result of a new air route AliExpress has announced. The commercial route between China and Spain will start this month.

UPS launches Saturday delivery in Europe

UPS will launch its Saturday delivery service in eight European markets this month. The launch follows after European consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping during the coronavirus breakout.

Adevinta acquires eBay Classifieds Group

eBay’s classified ad business will be sold to Adevinta for 9.2 billion dollars in cash and stock. eBay will receive 2.5 billion in cash and approximately 540 million shares. This gives eBay control of 44 percent of the company and 33 percent of the voting rights.

‘Cross-border expansion in Europe has become very difficult’

Over half of online businesses in Europe believe that cross-border expansion within the European Union is becoming increasingly difficult. Research shows that the diversity of regulations across the EU is a barrier to international growth.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Europe.

Last update: July 2020