BRUSSELS | European e-commerce is booming. This is apparent from the forecast issued by Ecommerce Europe, the new European umbrella organisation for online retailers. European online revenue is expected to grow around 22 per cent in 2012. Online purchases are increasing explosively, in particular in Southern and Eastern Europe. Ecommerce Europe figures are compiled in cooperation with various e-commerce associations around Europe and in cooperation with GfK.
Ecommerce Europe expects total e-commerce turnover of products and services in 2012 to reach over 305 billion euro, compared with 254 billion euro in 2011. Growth figures in countries in Southern and Eastern Europe are noticeably high. Countries in the East, such as Poland and Czech Republic have expected growth figures ranging between 25 to 30 per cent. Turnover is also rapidly increasing in other countries, particularly in France (20%), Germany (25%), Belgium (20%), Italy (19%) and Spain (19%). According to Ecommerce Europe the United Kingdom, France and Germany represent about 70% of the total EU market.
e-Commerce growth depends on confidence
François Momboissse, president of Ecommerce Europe “Growth in e-commerce is closely linked with trust and confidence. It takes a couple of years before Internet users become online shoppers. This explains why, globally, only 20 to 40% of Internet users purchase online. In many emerging countries, consumers do not have a longstanding experience of shopping by catalogue. They wish to see a product before deciding to purchase. Their confidence in online payment and online security in particular has to grow. This is why Ecommerce Europe attaches such importance to online payments and online security. This must be a top priority for the European Union as well.”
According to Wijnand Jongen, member of the Board of Ecommerce Europe and in charge of statistics and research, growth in Europe can easily be explained. “The Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in particular have a head start as far as Internet usage and mobile devices is concerned. These mature countries are scoring very high for both e-commerce and m-commerce (sales via smartphones and tablets). In these countries 70 to 80 per cent of Internet users are e-shoppers. Internet penetration is 90% or higher. Their growth figures are currently 10 to 15 per cent. Other European countries are catching up fast. These currently have relatively fewer online purchasers, but the market is growing rapidly.”
Europe is the largest e-commerce market
On the whole Europe is doing extremely well in the field of e-commerce. Europe is the world’s largest market. The United States are hot on its heels, with an expected turnover of €280 billion in 2012. Next in line comes Asia-Pacific, with an expected turnover of €216 billion in 2012. Jongen: “The cross-border nature of e-commerce makes it all the more interesting to follow what is happening outside Europe. In 2012 Asia’s growth will probably reach 35%. China has currently 550 million Internet users (40% of the population) and has approximately the same number of e-shoppers (220 million) as the whole of Europe and more than the United States. Growth of B2C e-commerce in China is forecast to reach 88% in 2012, following a growth of 130% in 2011. Such rates are unprecedented, and the potential for growth is still huge.”
Global B2C e-commerce is expected to grow 20 per cent. e-Commerce in Latin America is forecast to increase with 25 to 30 per cent this year, reaching around €43 billion, led by Brazil. The e-commerce market in the MEA region (Middle East and Africa) is forecast to reach 12 billion euro in 2012, still comparatively small, but their growth figure is quite impressive: 45 per cent.
Consumers are always online
In the coming years growth of online sales will largely be determined by the rapid and spectacular penetration of mobile commerce. In the United Kingdom, m-commerce is forecast to reach 20 per cent of total online sales in 2012. This was “only” 5% at the end of 2011. In Scandinavia the share is currently 8% and in France 3%. By way of comparison: the share of m-commerce in the United States is estimated to reach close to 10% almost double the size as in 2011. Jongen: “Here we see a comparable trend. The Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom have a head start. Other countries will follow soon and fast: today 47.6% of all Europeans have a smartphone. Consumers are already always connected; they can search and purchase wherever and whenever they want. A major challenge for innovative entrepreneurs who manage to jump on the bandwagon.”
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