Belgian ecommerce is catching up to its neighbouring countries, as its 2013 turnover rose 25 % to 1.91 billion euro, a new record. 2014 seems to become even better, the BeCommerce federation said.
Record year creates optimism
A 25.66 % turnover growth compared to 2012 resulted in all Belgian ecommerce records being broken in 2013, while this year looks to do even better, finally crossing the 2 billion euro turnover threshold. Belgian online retailers are optimistic, according to a BeCommerce survey with 600 CEO’s of pure players and omnichannel companies.
The large majority (91%) has predicted a strong online sales growth in 2014, but where 59 % of online sales were from Belgium in 2013, they believe a larger share will be generated in other European countries in 2014. Slightly more than half of web retailers (56 %) thinks that internet will become the most important sales channel in two years’ time, while only 21 % believed that the year before.
Social media are also very popular, with 47 % seeing Facebook as an influential channel as it pushes people to buy. “A strategy focused on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is essential in online sales. Fan and customer interaction influences their experience and satisfaction and immediately reflects in terms of conversation and transactions”, Carine Moitier said.
9 out of 10 web shops seek personnel
Optimism also impacts the job availability, with 1 in 3 companies already employing 11 to 20 people and 87 % looking to attract new employees this year. Mostly e-marketing specialists, computer specialists and customer service employees are requested. At the current rate, Belgium on average gets a new web shop per day.
“Ecommerce opens the door for several new profiles and we notice that more universities are now offering bachelors for ecommerce, with web manager, community manager, emarketing campaign designer, online sales manager and even an ecommerce company founder", BeCommerce president Patricia Ceysens said.
Most web shops are entrepreneurial enterprises, with 66 % in 2013 not attached to a main office in Belgium or abroad. The number was only 27 % in 2007. It is also not the case that most employees are foreigners, with 78 % working in Belgium in 2013.
Half of web shops active in m-commerce
2013 will be m-commerce’s breakthrough year, as 55 % of web shops active on smartphone or tablets, which is four times as high as in 2011 and 37 % of the “non mobile” retailers wants to get there by the end of the year.
Those that are active all have mobile sites, but only half have mobile apps, and of those 66 % cater iOS, 60 % Android and 33 % Windows, but the rise of the latter two shows that Apple has a fight on their hands.
75 % of web shops are happy with what m-commerce delivers, a number which only stood at 57 % in 2011, although it is clear that most see m-commerce as a way to provide a better service instead of a way to increase sales. Nevertheless, 10 % of web shops has managed to get at least 10 % of their turnover through m-commerce, which is double of 2012.
Average purchase above 100 euro
The BeCommerce survey shows that customers paid more than 100 euro for 6 out of 10 orders in 2013. Twelve percens was even for sums higher than 500 euro, proof that Belgians no longer fear online purchases.
Internet consumers are highly predictable though, as most still purchase clothing (35 %), home decoration (30 %), hardware & software (24 %), toys (23 %) orkitchen appliances (20 %). These are usually paid through Visa, MasterCard or your average bank card, with delivery points like Kiala (39 %) and Mondial Relay (14 %) on the rise these past two years.