What about E-commerce in Europe?

E-Commerce Market in Europe estimated to be worth €717 bln in 2020

China is leading the e-commerce sector, but what is the real status of this industry in Europe? According to latest data, the e-commerce sector in Europe consists of three major markets, upcoming countries and thriving startup scenes. Anyway, with more than 740 mln people and €717 bln sales, it is still difficult to classify the European e-commerce industry as one, as it consists of several regions that all play their own role. Let’s have a look at e-commerce in Europe starting from its customers. 


Online shoppers by region in Europe (2019)


According to Eurostat, 32% of European consumers shopped online 1 or 2 times in the last three months. And 17% did this 6 to 10 times in the same period. Also, 87% bought from national e-commerce websites in the last year, while 35% ordered from sellers from other EU countries. Even in payments methods, we could see such big difference with extra EU markets. Cards account for the largest share of business-to-consumer e-commerce transactions in Europe, as research from yStats.com shows. Digital wallets are second best. In UK Debit cards account for 35% of all online transactions, while PayPal is the country’s third most used online payment method. Germans like to pay with invoice, while French consumers use debit card Carte-Blue, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal. In the Benelux, iDeal (the Netherlands) and Bancontact (Belgium) are very popular. For more common payment methods in Europe.

Data shows that e-commerce sales in Europe grew to €621 billion in 2019 and are set to be worth €717 billion in 2020. Most of the online turnover is still being generated in Western Europe, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of total European online retail turnover. Southern Europe, Northern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe show a much lower share of European ecommerce with 15, 7, 6, and 1 percent respectively.


Ecommerce in Europe (2015-2020)


As the Centre for Retail Research has found out, apart from the UK and Germany, market shares are comparatively low in many European countries. Countries where the ecommerce industry accounts for a fair share of total retail sales are the UK (17.8% forecast for 2017), Germany (15.1%) and France (10%). Not surprisingly, these are the biggest ecommerce countries in Europe. Other countries with high market shares are Sweden and the Netherlands.


                                                                        Source: Centre for Retail Research


What about online stores? Of course, major American retailers have their influence on local ecommerce industries in Europe. As a matter of fact, Amazon was the most-visited online marketplace in Europe in 2018. But that’s not to say Europe doesn’t have its own digital retailer. In Internet Retailer’s top 10 list of biggest online retailers in Europe, Amazon, Staples and Apple are the only American retailers. The list also contains Otto (Germany), Tesco (UK), Groupe Casino (France), Shop Direct Group, Home Retail Group (both UK), Zalando (Germany) and John Lewis (UK).