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Why Amazon struggles in Europe

Twenty years after Amazon started with dedicated ecommerce websites in Europe, the US company is still struggling on this continent. Mostly, it has trouble gaining serious traction in apparel and footwear, key parts of its dominance in the US. What makes it so hard for Amazon to achieve the same success in Europe?

Amazon in Europe is a great success. But when we look at the company’s presence in the apparel and footwear industry in Europe, it’s less obvious. But why? The Wall Street Journal spoke to retail executives and analysts, who say it’s because the ecommerce company lacks top fashion, doesn’t have a website that’s optimized for browsing clothes and is operating in a fragmented market with some serious competition, such as Zalando and Asos.

Only 8 percent market share in apparel and footwear

In the US, Amazon has almost 50 percent market share of online sales and it’s the number one apparel and footwear retailer with a market share of 35 percent. But in Western Europe, the company has a market share of 22 percent overall and only 8 percent market share in apparel and footwear.

Amazon launches own clothing brands in Europe

Amazon desperately wants to change this and that’s why it’s broadening its selection on European websites, while it also encourages US merchants to ship internationally. Amazon also launched three of its own clothing brands in Europe recently.

“Major fashion players in Europe of course don’t want to underestimate the threat of Amazon, because Amazon seems to be able to do anything”, Euromonitor analyst Marguerite Le Rolland says. “Our clients still feel relatively safe. They feel Amazon hasn’t convinced consumers yet on its fashion credentials.”

Euromonitor’s data shows that in the UK, Amazon ranks number 7 in online apparel and footwear sales, with a 4.8 market share, behind local retailers such as Next, John Lewis and Asos. In France, Amazon is number 3, and in Germany, number 2, behind Otto Group.

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