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Ecommerce in Europe

The 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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CONTINENT
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

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.

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Ecommerce per country

Ecommerce per region

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.

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.

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

Increased fraud in online fashion

The growing ecommerce has led to a rise in most types of fraud, online fashion retailers claim. One in three have experienced more online payment fraud, while 44 percent have experiences a rise in account takeover and promotion abuse.

40% growth in pick-up/drop-off points in Europe

There has been a 40 percent growth in pick-up/drop-off points in the European Union and the United Kingdom since mid-2019. Especially in Poland there was a significant increase in the number of PUDO points.

German tech subscription service Grover raises €60 million

Grover, a German subscription service for consumer electronics, has raised 60 million euros in an oversubscribed Series B Round. The company wants to use the money to accelerate international expansion.

Hubble Contacts is gaining ground in Europe

Almost five years ago, Hubble Contacts turned the optical market upside down by supplying contact lenses directly to consumers. Nowadays the US company has hundreds of thousands subscribers in about 30 countries. Ecommerce News Europe spoke with Emily Sewell, Vice President Supply Chain.

Lightspeed Payments launched in Europe

Lightspeed has announced the launch of Lightspeed Payments in Europe. At first, this payment solution will only available for hospitality merchants in the United Kingdom. Soon it will be available for retailers. Other European markets will also follow soon.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Europe.

Last update: July 2020