European e-commerce continues to flourish

Photo: Shutterstock

E-commerce continues its double-figure growth in Europe: online turnover this year is expected to climb 13 % to 621 billion euros as many people's fear to buy online is clearly evaporating.


Belgium lags behind

European B2C e-commerce will generate a turnover of 621 billion euros in 2019, according to a new annual report from trade federations Eurocommerce and Ecommerce Europe. This double-digit growth is mainly achieved in Western Europe, a region that now represents 66 % of all European e-commerce. Last year, B2C e-commerce already represented 3.82 % of the gross domestic product in Western Europe.


While Northern Europe has the highest internet penetration, it is nearly complete in Western Europe as well. In Belgium, 90 % of the population has access to the internet. 67 % made an online purchase last year, which ranks Belgium in the middle among all European countries but at the bottom of the list for Western Europe. With 84 % online shoppers, the Netherlands is among the top performers. dominates both the Netherlands and Belgium

Belgians who shop online buy 64 % in other EU countries and 19 % outside of the EU. Belgians are more loyal to Europe than for example the Dutch, who only buy 42 % in other EU countries and 32 % elsewhere. The Dutch do purchase 10 % more on their domestic market though – about a quarter of all online purchases. The biggest domestic shoppers are the Turks, who only buy 14 % outside of their own country.


Online turnover increased in the Netherlands by 5.3 %. Almost half of the shoppers preferred to have their parcels delivered at home during the day. Among the best-selling webshops, emerges triumphant with a turnover of 1.220 billion euros. Coolblue and Zalando follow with 884 million and 670 million euros, respectively. Four of the seven biggest online sellers are Dutch. also tops the list in Belgium, with a turnover of 386 million euros in the country. The runners-up are Coolblue and, with 322 and 153 million euros. The only Belgian player in the top-10 is Vandenborre at number seven. Half of Belgian online shoppers prefer to pay with Bancontact, while 46 % use a credit card. 64 % opt for home delivery.


Few to no obstacles

Across Europe as a whole, Amazon is the biggest seller, but in Central European countries and in Portugal, AliExpress is king. Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian shoppers do worry more about safety: as many as one in five are afraid to shop online. Other trust issues are also strongest in those countries.


Most people experience few to no obstacles in most Western European countries: only 1 % of Belgians are worried about delivery problems and only 5 % of the Dutch have issues with online payment. The percentage of Belgians who do not shop online because they prefer physical shopping is as low as 17 %, in the Netherlands, that figure is even lower at 11 %.