European ecommerce was worth 757 billion euros in 2020
In 2020, ecommerce within Europe has kept on growing. The total worth of European ecommerce grew to 757 billion euros. This is a 10 percent growth from 690 billion euros in 2019.
Over the last years, there has been a steady increase in the number and share of online shoppers within Europe every year. The largest jump in the number of online shoppers can be seen in 2020, due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic pushing consumers to online shopping. The percentage of online shoppers was 71 in 2020, while it was just 66 percent in the year before.
These findings are stated in the 2021 European Ecommerce Report, published by Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce. Though ecommerce within Europe grew significantly, with 10 percent, the growth was smaller than in 2019 (14 percent). The sharp decline of online sales in tourism and the services sector due to Covid-19 contributed to holding back overall growth.
Pandemic shows importance ecommerce
The pandemic has had a massive impact on the retail sector. With lockdown regulations across the EU, there was a high rise in the number of online shops and the economic shock of having to close physical stores was somewhat absorbed by the growth of ecommerce.
Luca Cassetti, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, commented: “The past year has exposed the importance of digital transformation. Ecommerce has proven to be exceptionally well placed to facilitate the digitalisation of retail and create a seamless shopping experience for consumers. Physical stores opened up new online sales channels, SMEs have been able to access new markets through e-commerce, and merchants have increasingly adopted omnichannel commerce solutions, such as click-and-collect, to accommodate the ever-changing health requirements and consumer needs. However, the transition is not yet completed. Policymakers need to recognize the potential of digital commerce and invest more in new technologies and digital skills while creating a harmonised, channel-neutral and future-proof legislative framework”.
The past year has exposed the importance of digital transformation.
Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, commented: “The retail and wholesale sector is going through a significant transformation process. Government restrictions and rising consumer demand accelerated digitalization. Consumers who were hitherto unfamiliar with buying online or on their mobile devices have become accustomed to it, and are likely to continue to use this and a mixture of channels. Before the pandemic, 70 percent of retailers and wholesalers had no facilities for online sales, and those physical stores who did have an online presence overcame the challenges better. But the problem remains, and we are calling on governments and EU policy makers to support the digital transformation of the sector, address unjustified manufacturer restrictions on selling on online platforms, and a create a regulatory framework that provides for a channel-neutral and future-proof policy environment”.
Ecommerce across the European markets
In 2020, Western Europe achieved the highest share of total European ecommerce turnover with 64 percent. Southern Europe holds 16 percent of the total turnover. In terms of growth, Eastern Europe shined in 2020 with a rate of 46 percent, while Western Europe’s growth rate remained moderate at 4 percent. The growth rates of Central and Southern Europe were somewhat equal, 28 and 24 percent respectively.
Eastern Europe shows biggest growth with 46 percent.
Another important event in 2020 was of course Brexit. Though the UK has always been an economic powerhouse within European ecommerce, growth and progress in the remaining European countries’ digital markets have not stalled. In fact, 89 percent of the European population accessed the internet, and 73 percent shopped online (up from 68 percent in 2019).