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Ecommerce in Belgium

Top 10 online stores in Belgium

Belgium is a small country and most of the leading ecommerce players are originally from abroad. The country wants to change this and is actively promoting local online stores, hoping customers will buy at Belgian online stores instead of spending money at foreign players.

Belgium was quite late to the ecommerce game, which can be explained by multiple reasons. To start with, the country is quite peculiar in comparison with other (European) countries. Basically, there’s the Dutch-speaking part of Flanders and the French-speaking part, Wallonia, that’s still economically behind. But to make it even more complex: the federal state consists of three communities, three regions, and four language areas. And these subdivision types overlap.

And ecommerce in Belgium also took quite some time to thrive, because of laws and regulations. For example, it took a very long time before the federal state allowed ecommerce employees to work at night. Because of this, many Belgian ecommerce companies weren’t able to offer next-day-delivery to their customers, while foreign competitors were, and thus could offer a better service to Belgian online shoppers.

But luckily, for both consumers and the economy of Belgium, things have changed. Night work is now allowed and this means Belgian ecommerce companies can compete again with foreign players in terms of fast deliveries.

The top 10 online stores in Belgium

As said, the top ten of online stores in Belgium is made up mostly of foreign players. And of course, this top 10 list changes every year. But in 2017, this was the list of ten biggest online stores in Belgium, based on data from the annual Twinkle100:

01. Amazon
02. Coolblue
03. Bol.com
04. Zalando
05. MediaMarkt
06. Vente-Exclusive.com
07. Colruyt Group
08. Unigro
09. Vanden Borre
10. H&M

Amazon

The five biggest online retailers in Belgium aren’t Belgian. Take for example, Amazon, the US ecommerce giant that doesn’t have a dedicated online store in Belgium, but is still the biggest player. If you visit Amazon.be, you won’t even be redirected to Amazon.fr or Amazon.de, but it’s home to an insurance company with the same name. No, if you’re a Belgian customer looking to shop at Amazon, you have to visit Amazon France or one of the other European Amazon marketplaces.

Coolblue

Coolblue is a Dutch omnichannel retailer that launched its very first online store, in the Netherlands, in 2000. Two years later, the company launched ecommerce websites such as PDAshop.be and Digicamshop.be in Belgium. In 2007, Coolblue opened a physical store in Antwerp. Currently, it also has physical stores in Lochristi and Zaventem. In both the Netherlands and Belgium, Coolblue is famous for its customer service and the accompanying effort to make customers happy during the pre- and post-purchase stage.

Bol.com

Bol.com may be the biggest online retailer in the Netherlands, but Amazon and Coolblue generated more revenue in Belgium in 2017. The Dutch company launched in 1999 and started selling online to Belgian customers in 2002. Since then, online sales in this country grew significantly. In 2015, the company announced that 17 percent of its 6 million customers are from Belgium and one year later, the company’s revenue in Belgium increased by 50 to 60 percent.

The rest of the top 10 online stores in Belgium

There’s no Belgian player to be found in the country’s top five list. German companies Zalando and MediaMarkt generated more online revenue than the first Belgian player on the list, fashion retailer Vente-Exclusive.com. It’s followed by retail group Colruyt Group, best-known for its Colruyt supermarkets. Number eight on the list is Unigro, which sells furniture, consumer electrics and DIY & garden products online. The top ten of biggest online stores in Belgium is completed by multimedia and consumer electronics retailer Vanden Borre and Swedish fashion retailer H&M.

Last update: 2018