The corona crisis has caused an acceleration in e-commerce, but that acceleration had already started last year. In 2019 online sales in Europe grew by 14.2%, this year an increase of 'at least' 12.7% is expected.
Corona effect cuts both ways
European e-commerce sales grew by 14.2% in 2019, amounting to 636 billion euros more than a year earlier. This is according to a study by Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce. For the current year, they expect growth of at least 12.7% and an annual turnover of 717 billion euros.
The corona-pandemic will probably increase that figure even further, but the full impact will only become clear next year, according to the study. Indeed, there is the conflicting effect of declining consumer confidence on the one hand and increased online penetration on the other. "The retail agenda will be dominated by Covid-19 and sustainability this year", the researchers believe.
Two-thirds of Europeans shopping online
In 2019, 67% of Europeans were already shopping online, representing a growth of some 6.5% new users. In Western Europe, 83% of the population are e-shoppers, and their number is growing at an annual rate of 5%. However, the British are by far the most fervent online shoppers, with islanders accounting for almost half of all e-commerce turnover, at €200 billion.
Nevertheless, e-commerce is growing at roughly the same rate in the Netherlands and the UK: almost 15% last year. It is true that of all Europeans, the Dutch buy most often in their own country (95%). In Belgium, only 13 of the 100 largest online retailers are based in the country. Nevertheless, Belgium was the fourth strongest online grower last year (+7%), albeit well behind the top three. In Romania and Bulgaria, B2C e-commerce grew the most last year (both 30%), followed by Spain with 29%.