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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 €621 billion (2019)
Online stores worth mentioning: Otto, Tesco, CDiscount, Bol.com, Zalando, H&M

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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

Ecommerce in Europe: €621 billion in 2019

Ecommerce in Europe is forecasted to be worth 621 billion euros by the end of 2019. This would mean an increase of 13.6 percent compared to the situation last year, when ecommerce was worth 547 billion euros.

J.P. Morgan processes 30% of online transactions in Europe

J.P. Morgan was named the number one ecommerce acquirer, by web transaction volume, in Europe. When the overall transaction volume is taken into account, the financial services provider happens to be the fourth largest merchant acquirer in Europe.

June: ecommerce events in Europe

A new month is here, so there are new ecommerce events you could visit across Europe. As always, we’ve made a handy overview for you, so you know when and where an ecommerce event takes place this month in Europe.

Farfetch gives designer bags second life

Farfetch has introduced Farfetch Second Life: a new initiative to give designer bags a second life. Customers can exchange their beloved handbags for credit they can use to fund future purchases on the online fashion store.

10 recommendations for better ecommerce industry in Europe

The European elections take place between 23 to 26 May, in a time where Brexit and the growth of euroscepticism are hot topics. Pan-European ecommerce association Ecommerce Europe wants a level-playing field for the Digital Single Market and gives 10 recommendations for a better ecommerce industry in Europe.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Europe.

Last update: June 2019