Ecommerce to hit €188bln in Europe this year

Online sales in Europe are expected to grow to 188 billion euros in 2013, from 166 billion in 2012. The United Kingdom, Germany and France would remain the biggest online markets by 2018, while online retail sales on the continent are seen doubling to 323 billion euros that year.

At least, that’s what market research firm Mintel predicted after a survey of 19 markets in Europe. And although Germany, Britain and France would still be the biggest ecommerce markets by 2018, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland should grow at a faster rate. And Norway and Sweden have the highest online per-capita spend.

Amazon to extend its lead in Europe
Mintel European retail analyst John Mercer thinks there is a big North-South divide in ecommerce in Europe. French participation levels lag The United Kingdom and Germany by five years, while the southern countries Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy are even further behind. The company also looked at how Amazon is performing in Europe and the American ecommerce company is expected to extend its lead on the continent, growing market share to 9.8 percent in 2012 from 9.2 percent a year earlier. That’s positive news for Amazon, but it’s get better because its next closest rival, German ecommerce company Otto, saw it market share decline to 3.3 percent from 3.9 percent.

It’s not all moonlight and roses for Amazon: in the United Kingdom there is a lot of negative publicity over its low tax bills, while in Germany it was confronted with strikes at its distribution centres. But nonetheless Mintel thinks Amazon could double its European market share in the next three to four years. But even if that happens the American company is still far away from being Europe’s biggest retailer. By 2012 Amazon could get a chance to overtake the position from Germany’s Schwarz group, owner of Lidl discount stores.

Bigger ecommerce growth in US
While Europe is expected to grow 13.25% in a year, the United States saw its ecommerce sales getting to $64.8 billion in the second quarter of this year, up 18.5% in the second quarter of 2012. This is the largest year-over-year increase since the fourth quarter of 2007. So, hooray for ecommerce!

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