Ikea and H&M lead the ranking of the 500 biggest European cross-border webshops, Lego is new in third place. More brands are approaching consumers directly, with the emergence of digital-native vertical brands as an important trend.
Cross-Border Commerce Europe, the platform that stimulates cross-border e-commerce in Europe, ranks the strongest European players based on their online cross-border turnover, SEO indicators, the number of countries where the retailer is active and the number and percentage of cross-border visitors. The fourth edition has just been published, with the figures for 2021.
Just like last year, Ikea is in first place: the Swedes saw their cross-border turnover increase by 8 % to 5.5 billion euros. H&M maintains its second place, Lego jumps from five to three to make the podium a wholly Scandinavian affair. All the other companies in the top ten are newcomers: Zalando, Lidl, About You, Jysk, Zara, Bauhaus and Euronics.
Impact of Brexit
The total European online cross-border market accounted for a turnover of 171.2 billion euros in 2021 (excluding travel), an increase of 17 % compared to 2020. European webshops achieved a record 100 billion euros in cross-border sales. The players in the Top 500 received 1.4 billion cross-border visitors per month, an increase of 40 %. The researchers also expect an enormous growth for the coming years: this year, the turnover will reach 220 billion.
The United Kingdom lost its number one position as the most important European country for cross-border sales to Germany, a logical consequence of the Brexit, which caused the UK cross-border turnover to drop from 33 billion to 29 billion euros. The number of UK retailers in the Top 500 fell from 100 in 2020 to 68 in 2021.
Growth for marketplaces
Notable in the rankings is the 50 % increase in the number of brand manufacturers with direct-to-consumer channels, such as Lego, Nespresso, Adidas and Philips. The number of marketplaces also rises sharply, from 28 to 42: together, platforms are already realising a record turnover of 20 billion euros. European marketplaces strengthened their positions against their American counterparts, thanks to the strong performance of players such as Zalando, Decathlon and About You.
Finally, a promising trend is the emergence of so-called “digital-native vertical brands”: pure players born on the Internet, such as NA-KD (26th place), Cowboy (105) and Gymshark (108).