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Number of online stores in the Netherlands recounted

One of the statistics you can use when you talk about a country’s ecommerce situation, is the number of online stores. But it is also something that’s hard to know for sure. We took it upon ourselves to recount the number of online stores in The Netherlands. And guess what? There seems to be much more than one might think!

Counting the online stores is something we did for our Dutch sister site Webwinkel Weblog, a blog about ecommerce and dedicated to the smaller online store owners. Now, there are already some official institutions that tried counting the number of online stores in the Netherlands. The online retail association Thuiswinkel.org for example estimated there were about 45,000 Dutch online stores in 2012. According to Statistics Netherlands there were 19.700 active mail order companies and online stores on the first of January 2013. And based on research from postal service PostNL there were about 40,000 online stores in the Netherlands in July 2013.

So you see, there are a lot of different conclusions about the number of online stores in the Netherlands. For us this was a reason to contact the different software providers, payment service providers and fulfillment houses. Sometimes we’ve had to make an educated guess about the number of clients they’ve got, but more often they gave us some numbers off the record. As Dutch bloggers we know many of these companies for years now, so we could easily judge the accuracy of their numbers. Where we couldn’t do this, we used crawlers, informed specialists in the market, or we did our own research.

70,000 online stores in the Netherlands
And that’s how we ended up with the number of 70,000 online stores in the Netherlands. We’ve only looked at stores that are still running and are expected to create at least some revenue. We’ve counted online stores created with international players like Magento, osCommerce, PrestaShop, OpenCart, STRATO, Interspire and Zen-Cart, but also stores created with local software like BiedMeer, Elexioshop, LogiVert, Luondo, Mijnwebwinkel, MyShop, One-Stop-Webshop, SEOshop, ShopFactory, Shoppagina, Shoptrader and Starteenwinkel.

Remember that it’s just a number of online stores, so not a number of ecommerce entrepreneurs. Many shop owners run more than one store for example and many companies that don’t have ecommerce as their main business, do have an online store on the side. The number is based on the amount of online shops only.

All things considered, we dare to say our guess isn’t that off. After we published the article on our Dutch site, we’ve received many reactions of people from the ecommerce industry, and so far they only confirmed our number. At which place the Dutch market is compared to the other European countries? Hard to say! As being Dutch ecommerce bloggers for years, giving an accurate number about this country was by far the easiest way to start. Next stop could be any other European country but for that, help is definitely welcome!

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