Today we’re looking at e-commerce in Europe. With Brexit inching forward, there’s a mix of challenges and opportunities for merchants in other Western EU countries. 253 million EU consumers spent more than $210 billion online in 2015, up 5% over the previous year. A Payvision report says more than 10% of EU companies are restricted by regulations from selling cross-border.
EU mobile commerce varied from 53% in Turkey to only 17% in the Netherlands according to research by PayPal. ‘Ecommerce professor’ Gerrit Heinemann says EU companies can compete with the big multinationals like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by concentrating on verticals, e-markets and other unique strategies. With 28 million residents 74% of Belgians shopped online and 93% in the Netherlands – great potential markets according to Ecommerce News.
A GfK study found regional e-commerce opportunities for 17 products in Germany. In Italy, fashion e-commerce is worth over $2 billion and grew more than 25% last year, the highest in Europe. EU Directorate-General for Competition issued a preliminary report on its ongoing sector inquiry into the e-commerce of goods and digital content.
Spanish e-commerce grew more than 20% in Q1 2016, reaching total sales of €5.4 billion ($6 billion), up 21.5% from the previous year. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed a digital declaration to coördinate e-commerce across the three countries. The European Holiday Homeowners Association cited Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and Paris for local regulations restricting online “sharing economy” platforms such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor.
Ecommerce in Europe was worth €189 billion ($210 billion) in 2015
Ecommerce in Europe is still growing. Last year, about 253 million Europeans bought products or services online with a total value of €189 billion ($210 billion). That’s €9 billion ($10 billion) more than the year before. About 176 million European consumers also shopped online from abroad, which is an increase of €17 million ($18.9 million) in a year.
(The value of €189 billion is a huge difference from the €455 billion ($506.3 billion) ecommerce in Europe was worth according to Ecommerce Europe, but both organizations use different calculations and PostNord only researched 12 European countries.)
These data were shared by PostNord, which published its annual report about the online buying habits and preferences of European consumers. And these consumers are becoming increasingly mature in their online buying behavior, which has led to their demands increasing as well. Especially in terms of delivery. Via ecommercenews.eu
Cross-border ecommerce in Europe
Cross-border ecommerce is popular in Europe. In 2014, a study has shown that more than a quarter of online shoppers in the EU have shopped online in another EU country. But there is still a long way to go: many shoppers are afraid to shop across the borders, because they are worried they don’t get the goods or need to put way too much effort in returning the products if they don’t like them. The European Commission is trying hard to make cross-border ecommerce easier for both consumers and sellers.
Europe is not only a popular ecommerce destination for consumers and retailers in other European countries, Payvision’s report from 2014 showed that in North America, Europe was the first region of choice for cross-border expansion for two in three respondents.
Geo-blocking in Europe
In March 2016, the European Commission wrote a report about geo-blocking practices in ecommerce, a topic that’s of course strongly connected to cross-border retail. “Geo-blocking mainly takes the form of a refusal to deliver abroad. Refusals to accept payment, and, to a lesser extent, re-routing and website access blocks are also used”, the Commission wrote. “While a majority of such geo-blocking results from unilateral business decisions of retailers, geo-blocking may also stem from contractual restrictions in agreements between retailers and suppliers. More than one out of ten retailers reports contractual restrictions to sell across borders.” Via ecommercenews.eu
Mobile commerce in Europe
Mobile commerce in Europe is an industry that’s showing different results per region. Mcommerce is for example more popular in the eastern and southern part of Europe than it is in Northern Europe or Scandinavia. In 2015, research by PayPal showed that in Turkey 53 percent of online shoppers have bought online via a smartphone in the twelve months prior to that study, while in the Netherlands this share was just 17 percent.
Online retail is an ever-moving industry and in Europe this is no different. There are very mature ecommerce markets, such as those in the United Kingdom, Germany and France, and there are ecommerce industries that are still developing rapidly, such as in Greece or Hungary.
With mobile commerce, the situation is even more different, as it’s not only about how used to online shopping consumers are, but also whether they have a smartphone or tablet and if they use these for such online activities. Via ecommercenews.eu
What can Europe do against American retail giants?
What does Europe have to offer to oppose the digital superpowers Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple? Well, virtually nothing. But that can change, says ‘ecommerce professor’ Gerrit Heinemann. His plan is called ‘VEZOS’, a play on words with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
Heinemann explained ‘VEZOS’ to German media magazine W&V. The German economist first explains how American retailers like Amazon and Walmart and tech companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook dominate lots of industries. Amazon generated $107 billion in sales and has grown 20% in recent years, making this “killing machine” something you can’t catch up anymore. Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, generated a lot less online than Amazon. But earlier this year, the retailer announced it would invest about $2 billion in the development of its ecommerce platform.
GAFA, TAB and…?
Amazon is a member of the unofficial group “GAFA”, also consisting of Google, Apple and Facebook. Together, these companies control about $400 billion of trade volume. In Asia, an adversary has been formed against these American companies. Together, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu (TAB) also control about $400 billion in trade volume. But which group does this for/in Europe. Via ecommercenews.eu
How to succeed in the Dutch and Belgian ecommerce market
The Netherlands and Belgium have a combined population of 28 million people, a gross domestic product of €1.08 trillion ($1.2 trillion) and English is spoken widely. The two countries offer an attractive market to international retailers looking to expand into new territories. A new guidebook helps companies who want to sell online in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Ecommerce Worldwide launched the Belgium & Netherlands Cross-Border eCommerce Trading Guide which consists of tons of information for retailers looking to expand into these Western European countries. It makes clear why the Netherlands and Belgium are very attractive countries for conducting ecommerce business.
Belgium grows faster than the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, 93% of the population shops online and the ecommerce market grew by 16.1% last year. In Belgium, 74% of its inhabitants shop online and it’s one of the fastest growing markets with a growth of 34.2% last year. Also in terms of cross-border ecommerce, Belgium is growing fast (35%) compared to the Netherlands (21%). Both Dutch and Belgian consumers love to shop abroad in countries such as the UK, France and Germany, although in the Netherlands consumers also shop abroad often in China and the US. Via ecommercenews.eu
eCommerce in Germany: Highly varying regional potential for product lines
The distribution of online potential for product groups such as food, clothing, consumer electronics and DIY items differs substantially from region to region.
On October 5 GfK published its findings in the first-ever study on regional online potential for 17 product groups in Germany.
The GfK study is based in part on anonymous and aggregated channel-specific purchasing data from GfK’s consumer panels for the product groups in question. Using geostatistical comparisons, GfK’s experts determined the regional online potential for 17 product groups for all regions in Germany. The data reveals the regional distribution of online potential for product lines down to the level of Germany’s municipalities and postcodes. Via finchannel.com
Italians Shop Online for Fashion, Fashion and more Fashion
In Italy, fashion in e-commerce is worth over €1.8 billion. With a growth of 25%, fashion represents the online category that grew by the most in Europe as well as Italy.
A convenient click from home or from the office to buy clothing or accessories and entire days to wear it and love it without feeling guilty. All after having it conveniently delivered to your home a few hours later in a nice package and with the possibility to change it or send it back if it doesn’t suit you.
And like that, thanks to the increasing digitalization in our daily lives and to the strong commitment by brands and e-commerce platforms to make themselves attractive and cohesive, fashion is now among the most important categories for Italian e-commerce and it represents the online category that has grown the most in Europe, where e-commerce in general, between 2014 and 2015, has seen an increase of +13.3%, from €402 billion to €455 billion in 2015. Via forbes.com
On the Way to European Digital Single Market: Whether You Sell Online or Offline
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition has issued a lengthy preliminary report of its ongoing sector inquiry into the e-commerce of goods and digital content. The sector-wide inquiry was launched on May 6, 2015, in the context of a wider legislative initiative by the Commission implementing its Digital Single Market strategy. The ongoing inquiry and impending future enforcement actions will have major implications on the law and enforcement of product distribution in Europe, both online and offline.
The purpose of the European Commission’s inquiry is to identify features of e-commerce within the European Union that effect online and offline distribution strategies and raise barriers to competition. The sector inquiry itself will not result in infringement findings. Instead, the inquiry will provide the factual, legal and economic context necessary for future investigations of individual companies, which the Commission has warned it will initiate. Most recently, Johannes Laitenberger (the director-general of competition at the EC) emphasised that enforcement against barriers to a single e-commerce market is within the Commission’s authority, suggesting a looming uptick.
The preliminary report contains findings and statements that are of importance to companies selling goods and digital content into or within the European Union. Stakeholders have until November 18, 2016 to provide comments on the report and potentially influence the Commission’s final report due in 2017 Q1. The full text of the report can be found here. Via natlawreview.com
Spanish e-commerce market up 21.5% to €5.4 bln ($6 bln) in Q1
The Spanish e-commerce market continued to grow at an annual rate above 20% in the first quarter of 2016, reaching total sales of €5.4 billion ($6 billion), up 21.5% year on year, according to the latest data released by Spain’s communications regulator CNMC. There were over 88 million online purchases in the first three months of the year, some 30% more than in the same period of 2015. The tourism sector continued to drive e-commerce sales, with travel agencies accounting for 14.3% of the total spend in the first quarter, followed by air transport with 12.7% and clothing with 6.3%.
E-commerce transactions within Spain itself accounted for 55.9% of the total sales, with the remaining 44.1% corresponding to purchases made by Spanish buyers on foreign sites. In total, Spaniards spent €2.2 billion on Spanish e-commerce sites in the first quarter of the year, some 25.3% more than in the year-earlier period. Via telecompaper.com
Benelux wants unified eCommerce market
On Monday, the Prime Ministers from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed a digital declaration, signaling their intent on creating a unified eCommerce market across the three nations.
With this declaration, the three countries have jumped ahead of the other countries in the European Union, because the plan for a unified European online market has been around since last year, but the Benelux intends to become an example for other countries.
Thanks to the declaration, initiatives should be launched, designed to reform the rules regarding package services or the search for ways to supervise the online market together. This should help spot fraud more easily.
Later on, all the initiatives will be presented to other European countries and those can – at increased speed – take full advantage of a digital market, with a minimum of obstacles, according to online trade paper Twinkle.
EU’s ‘sharing economy’ stifled by petty rules on coat hangers to light bulbs
Europe’s bid to champion the “sharing economy” is being undermined in the short-term rental sector by capitals imposing petty rules such as dictating the number of coat hangers home-owners must provide, a complaint filed to the European Commission says.
In its complaint, the European Holiday Homeowners Association singled out Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and Paris as having local regulations that restricted the activities of online platforms such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor and violated the EU’s e-commerce directive.
The Commission set out guidelines in June aimed at creating a true single market for a rapidly growing sector of the economy, which includes platforms from ride-hailing app Uber to accommodation service Airbnb.
But the European Holiday Homeowners Association, which represents members of the short-term rental industry and which lodged a complaint with the Commission earlier this month, said restrictive local rules were hurting the “sharing economy”. Via reuters.com
Holiday sales projections ahead
Next week, we’ll report on sales projections for US retail and e-commerce holiday sales as well as Diwali festival sales in India. Have an enjoyable weekend and we’ll be back with news you can use on Monday.