The Netherlands leads the world in e-commerce


Almost a third of the world's population is already shopping online. This is partly thanks to the Dutch, who are the most avid online shoppers in Europe. The Netherlands even has the second-best e-commerce climate in the world.


The Netherlands (ex) best e-commerce country

One and a half billion people on this planet bought online products in 2019. That number accounts for 27 per cent of the world's population over the age of 15 and is 7 per cent higher than a year earlier. However, there are fundamental differences: while in high-income countries - especially Europe - more than half of the population shops online, in low-income countries, this is only 2 per cent.


So far, the global front runner has been the Netherlands: even more so than in countries such as Denmark, the United Kingdom and China, in the Netherlands, a favourable e-commerce climate prevails. For example, nearly the whole population has a safe and good internet connection, a bank account, and mail distribution is reliable. This is said by the United Nations at its annual trade conference (UNCTAD). 


More shoes than movies

The European Commission also confirms that no less than 91 per cent of Dutch people aged 16 and over occasionally buy items online. That is 9 per cent more compared to 2015. Belgium only ranks eighth with 80 per cent, the same number as in the Netherlands five years ago. By comparison, the European average is 72 per cent. In countries such as Italy and Bulgaria, less than half of the population shop online. Nevertheless, the Netherlands has to leave one country behind in this year's UN ranking: Switzerland now has the world's best e-commerce climate.


In the meantime, the Covid crisis has caused quite a few shifts: not only did online sales increase due to the pandemic, but purchasing behaviour has also changed. It is striking that, for the first time, more goods than services are being bought online. At the start of 2020, no less than 64 per cent of European online shoppers bought clothes or shoes online, far exceeding the downloading or streaming of films or TV series (32 per cent). In third place are restaurant orders (29 per cent).