The 10 largest European E-commerce markets

Bart Vintcent
May 14, 2019

In this article we will discuss the 10 largest E-commerce markets in Europe and how you as a retailer can respond to this.

The E-commerce market continues to grow
That E-commerce is growing around the globe is not earth shattering news. The ordering of online products and services is becoming, globally, the favourite ,method of purchasing things.

Are you a retailer, but haven’t started with online sales yet? Well then tick-tock because you are lagging behind the rest. Are you already selling your goods online in the Netherlands and Belgium? Good for you! It is expected that the total Dutch E-commerce market will grow up to €11.894 million in 2018 (Statista).

But are you limiting the sales of your goods only to the Dutch and Belgian markets? Then you are missing out on quite a few opportunities. The global E-commerce business goes hand in hand with dashing statistics that are of interest to every entrepreneur and will make you reconsider to sell your products cross-border.

In 2018 the total estimated turnover of the global E-commerce market was €1.552 billion. The total global turnover for 2022 is estimated at a mere €2.239 billion. Looking at Europe alone, we see that the total estimated turnover is set at €329 billion. By 2022 this will be €436 billion (Statista). Unparalleled growth.

Why is the European E-commerce market of interest to Dutch and Belgian entrepreneurs?
As we mentioned above, enormous turnovers are being made in the global E-commerce business and the Netherlands is only a small player in this field. Therefore it is of interest to Dutch and Belgian entrepreneurs, who are already successful in their own country, to expand their attention to larger markets. Why limit yourself to the Benelux when there is so much potential beyond the borders?

Larger markets such as China, with an E-commerce turnover of €528 billion, and the United States with €429 billion, are of huge interest to every entrepreneur. However, when you wish to start selling your products outside of Europe you will have to deal with increased shipping costs and extended product deliveries, through which you will not be able to compete with other merchants who offer a cheaper and faster service.

The entire European E-commerce market with its €329 billion turnover is an interesting market considering you do not have to deal with steep shipping costs and extended product deliveries, through which you will be able to compete with (local) European webshops.

Which European countries are the most interesting and what is their potential?

Below is a list of the 10 largest European E-commerce markets (2018) and their expected growth for 2022. This list is based on statistics provided by Statista.

Country Estimated Turnover 2018 Estimated Turnover in 2022
UK €93.712 million €117.351 million
Germany €63.183 million €81.214 million
France €44.753 million €61.920 million
Spain €17.423 million €24.689 million
Italy €13.737 million €19.245 million
Netherlands €11.894 million €16.235 million
Sweden €9.540 million €12.842 million
Switzerland €7.614 million €9.998 million
Poland €7.392 million €10.361 million
Austria €7.025 million €9.414 million

 

Yes, billions are being made in the E-commerce market. But how do I reach these people?
It is an option to redesign your current webshop and have it set up for the European market. However, this is quite the investment. You are not only converting your webshop, but you haven’t created any brand awareness across the border. Let alone visitors. For this reason you need to invest in advertisement in order to get customers to your webshop. Even if you were to make this investment, the question still remains whether this investment will pay off. Naturally, SEO is an option for the long term, but the effects of this will only be noticeable after 7 months to a year.

BUT

It can be interesting to sell your products via online marketplaces that are active throughout Europe. In the Netherlands and Belgium we have the well known platform bol.com . It’s been a while since bol.com was only selling their own products. Over 20.000 merchants are actively selling their goods on bol.com . As a merchant on bol.com you are immediately exposed to a large number of buyers and bol.com takes care of all the marketing for you!

Other countries in Europe also have these online platforms, better known as marketplaces. In France they have for instance Cdiscount and Conforama. Amazon is also active in a number of European countries. In Germany over 40% of the online purchases are being made via Amazon. Interesting fact, right?

Importing all of my products and updating my stock with the various marketplaces is a lot of work, right?
It is possible to integrate your webshop with existing marketplaces such as bol.com, Amazon and Cdiscount by means of a plugin. This way you will reach all of your potential European customers at once with your existing Dutch webshop. The moment you receive an order, via for instance Amazon, this will imported into your own webshop and be sent back with the corresponding track & trace code to Amazon. When you webshop is attached to multiple marketplaces and a customer orders an item in one of these marketplaces, your own webshop inventory will immediately be updated throughout all of the linked marketplaces.

First conquer the Netherlands with your webshop
It is self-evident to first achieve success with your webshop in the Netherlands (or insert your country), before you are ready to take on the rest of Europe. If there is no success in your own country, why would it take off in the rest of Europe?

Don’t have a webshop yet but would like to start selling online?
In our blog article 10 major e-commerce platforms we highlight all the pros and cons of said platforms, so you will be able to make a conscious decision prior to starting or migrating your webshop.

 

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