Belgium has entered the e-commerce platform scene relatively late, mainly due to its four different language areas and complex regulatory system. Despite these "slowdowns" in terms of regulation, the e-commerce sector in the country is now growing exponentially and more and more users are enbracing this way of purchasing goods. ​

Belgian customers love to use the local payment method Bancard or the credit card when they need to pay for their online purchases. Research from BeCommerce in 2018 shows that Bancontact was used for 68% of all online purchases and for 30 percent of the money spent online. A more recent study shows that Bancontact was used in 45% of all online purchases during the fourth quarter of 2020. Clothing and shoes are amongst the most popular products purchased online. About six in ten Belgians have bought online at least once, one in four Belgians order products online on a monthly basis. 

The top five of online marketplace in Belgium is made up mostly of foreign players:

01. Bol.com

02. Coolblue

03. Amazon

04. Zalando

05. Apple

Bol.com is a marketplace accessible by users located in the Netherlands and Belgium. This means that Bol operates in a similar way to Amazon in that it sells directly to customers and offers a platform for merchants to list their products. Products made available by third-party sellers on Bol.com include both new and used products. Since then, online sales in this country grew significantly. To get an idea of its popularity, it is sufficient to consider that while Bol.com receives an average of about 42 million monthly visits, Amazon receives an average of “only” 214,000.

Coolblue is a Dutch e-commerce company that was founded in 1999 by Pieter Zwart (CEO), Paul de Jong, and Bart Kuijpers. The company operates in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. It currently has 21 physical stores. In 2020, Coolblue reported a revenue of €2 billion, with a profit  of €114 million. In both the Netherlands and Belgium, Coolblue is famous for its customer service and the accompanying effort to make customers happy during the pre- and post-purchase stage.

Amazon recently opened its virtual doors to Belgium, making 180 million products available across 30 categories. Amazon now has its own Belgian website, Amazon.com.be, available in Dutch, French and English, while also highlighting local businesses with a specific “virtual shop window” for Belgian brands. The “Brands of Belgium” shop currently features about 100 Belgian companies, but more are expected. “Building strong relationships with Belgian brands – big or small – is incredibly important to us, as we know that our customers like to shop locally,” said Eva Faict the Country Manager for Amazon in Belgium. 

These e-commerce platforms certainly represent another sells path to take for various brands that want to enter the Belgian market, a rapidly expanding market full of opportunities.