Germany hosts 116 of Europe’s leading cross-border web shops

Infograph cross-border online retail in Europe in 2019
Graph: Cross-Border Commerce Europe

Luxembourg’s online shoppers are the most internationally oriented in Europe, Dutch consumers the least. Yet, Germany is the true cross-border king: the country is home to no less than 116 of the largest international online retailers.


Dutch consumers shop local

In 2019, the total online cross-border market in the European Union represented a turnover of 108.75 billion euros, excluding travel. The inhabitants of Luxembourg are the most ardent online shoppers abroad, with both the highest number of cross-border web visits, the highest confidence in foreign webshops and the highest cross-border market share.


According to the organisation Cross-Border Commerce Europe, the fact that 67% of Luxembourg consumers made their last online purchase in 2019 within the last three months of the year, shows just how digitalised they are. They mainly order from major platforms such as Zalando, Asos, Veepee, Fnac and Amazon, while 40% of their cross-border purchases consist of clothing, shoes and accessories.


The Netherlands, on the other hand, are the least internationally oriented: the market share of online purchases abroad is 15.1%, much lower than the average of 23.55% for the 16 countries of the European Union. The explanation could be found in the presence of strong domestic web players and platforms, such as and Coolblue. In a survey by Cross-Border Commerce Europe, this puts the Netherlands in 16th and last place in a ranking of the European countries where consumers buy most outside their own borders.


Logistical challenges most prominent

However, in the opposite direction - countries that attract a lot of online purchases from abroad - Germany ranks number one, mostly thanks to online leader Zalando. Thomann and Bikester complete the top three of most international German webshops. It is also striking that Germany accounts for the highest number of cross-border webshops: the country is home to no fewer than 116 leading webshops that are successful in at least three European countries. This includes six marketplaces and 53 (50%) online 'pure players'.


The biggest challenges for consumers when ordering online across borders turn out to be delivery times, mis-delivered goods, damaged goods and return policies. During the coronavirus pandemic, the logistical challenges became even more prominent, according to CBCommerce.