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Multi-country retailers grow harder than other merchants

Big European merchants that sell online across borders in three or more European nations are growing almost twice as fast as the 500 biggest European online stores as a whole. The combined sales of these 27 online merchants that go cross-border totaled 45.74 billion euros, up 29% from 35.42 billion euros in 2012. This outpaces the 17% growth for the Europe 500 as a whole.

This is revealed by research from Internet Retailer who took another look at its Europe 500 list, a list of the 500 biggest online merchants in Europe. The tendency for European retailers is to look beyond their home countries in order to boost online sales. Last year, one in eight European ecommerce sales happened across national borders, data from Ecommerce Europe and EMOTA shows. And this figure is expected to increase to 20% of all estimated online sales in Europe by 2018.

Cross-border online sales in Europe

Cross-border online retailers in Europe
The 27 online retailers that are ranked in Internet Retailer’s Europe 500 list and have dedicated ecommerce sites in three or more European countries are (in order of ranking): Amazon, Otto, ASOS, Groupe Auchan, Blue Nile, Brandos, Carrefour, CDON, Decathlon, Dell, Disney, Dixons, Kerig, Hewlett-Packard, IKEA, MacIntosh Retail Group, Lego, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, M & M Direct, Mobile Fun, Nike, Media Saturn, Sony, Apple, Zazzle, and Spartoo.

One of the biggest online retailers in Europe that have ecommerce sites in several countries, is Otto Group. This German-based holding owns sixty ecommerce companies which saw its combined ecommerce sales on the German market grew by 7.2% to 4 billion euros in 2013. Its remaining international online sales grew almost four times faster, by 27.5% to 2 billion euros. Otto Group is in Europe active in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Next year, Otto wants to reach 8 billion euros in web sales.

Differences between online consumers in Europe
In the article from Internet Retailer, there are some more companies highlighted. For example, CDON Group, which has been very active in the Nordic countries, but now is also selling in other countries like Germany and The Netherlands via its fashion site Nelly.com. (Two months ago, Nelly.com launched in Belgium.) Paul Fischbein, president and CEO of CDON Group, is quoted by saying that many customers in the Nordic countries choose to pay for online orders via invoice, and that this is something other European online retailers looking to move into this region, should note.

There are more differences between European countries listed. For example, fulfilling orders to Russian consumers can be more difficult than in other European countries, due to an infrastructure that’s not yet as developed as Western European markets and a unreliable local postal service.

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