European B2C eCommerce Markets | Size Does Matter

LUXEMBOURG | Online Commerce in Europe is booming. The total European B2C eCommerce Market grew with 19% in 2012 to reach almost 312 billion euro (421 billion USD). The 28 member states of the European Union (EU28) accounted for 276.5 billion euro (370 billion USD), almost 90% of the total european online sales in 2012.  For 2013 again a substantial growth for the european online retail market is expected (around 18-20%). 


Size does matter

In line with internet access rates, the European online commerce industry is dominated by three leading ecommerce industries: the United Kingdom (96 billion euro), Germany (50 billion) and France (45 billion). Their total online sales in 2012 represent 61% of the total European ecommerce sector and 69% of the EU28. These countries also make the top 3 in terms of the number of inhabitants. Germany ranks number one with over 81 million people, followed by France (65,9 million) and the UK (63,4 million).  Taken this into account, it seems there is still a lot of room for growth for the German and French ecommerce market in the coming years.


Italy and Spain fall behind

Solely based on the number of potential shoppers there is also room for improvement for Italy (61,5 million) and Spain (47,3). Italy has almost the same amount of people as France, however their internet access rate is only around the 29% (compared to 69%). The total ecommerce turnover in Italy is almost 4-times less than the B2C ecommerce sales in France, respectively 60 million USD to 16 million. Spain, with over 47 million people, generates slightly more ecommerce sales in 2012 than Italy (17,5 compared to 16 million USD), however, still falls behind the performance and ratios of the top 3. The economic situation in both countries will most probably reflect negatively on household budget and spending power, and therefore growth could still be little. However, ecommerce might be able to benefit from price conscious italians and Spaniards finding their ways to purchase online.



Poland ranks sixth in numbers of people (over 38 million) and almost half of the people have internet access. Poland's economy still continues to grow, almost +1% for 2012, whereas the economies of France, UK, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and many others in the EU28 showed a decline. If Poland can maintain its economic growth, increase internet access and spending power, the Polish ecommerce market is most likely to exceed the 10 billion USD in the upcoming year. The total online commerce market in Poland accounted for 7 million USD in 2012, an increase of 25% compared to 2011.


Eurostat Internet Stats

Last month, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, presented their latest stats on internet access and online spending behaviour for the EU28. In 2012, 75% of individuals aged 16 to 74 used the internet in 2012, and nearly 60% of these internet users shopped online. Among the Member States, the highest shares of online shoppers were registered in the United Kingdom (82% of internet users), Denmark and Sweden (both 79%), Germany (77%), Luxembourg (73%), Finland (72%), The Netherlands and France  (both 69%). The lowest shares come from Romania (11%), Bulgaria (17%), Estonia and Italy (both 29%).


Travel Booking & Holiday Accommodation most common

In the EU28, ordering clothes & sports goods and booking travel & holiday accommodation are the most common online purchases amongst internet users. For both segments, one third of internet users purchased online during the previous 12 months (both 32% in 2012 compared with 21% in 2008). Almost one quarter of internet users in the EU28 reported that they bought books, magazines or e-learning material from the internet (23% in 2012 compared with 19% in 2008), while fewer than one internet user in ten ordered food & groceries online (9% in 2012 compared with 6% in 2008).


Highest Shares of Internet Users

Among Member States in 2012, the United Kingdom (51%) and Germany (49%) had the highest shares of internet users having purchased clothes & sports goods online in the previous 12 months. Sweden (60%) had the highest proportion reporting that they booked travel & holiday accommodation online, followed by Denmark (56%). The United Kingdom (21%) was the leading Member State for online food & grocery shopping, while in the majority of Member States this share was 10% or less.


Information partly sourced from eurostat, internetstats, and ecommerce europe.





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