European consumers spent €455.3 billion online in 2015. The rise was equivalent to 13.3%, which suggests that sales in the current fiscal year could top the €500 billion mark. About 43% of Europeans, i.e. 296 million customers, now shop online. Only 16% of them however has made cross-border purchases.
E-Commerce Europe, the European online sales confederation, is now expecting €510 billion worth of online sales in 2016, followed by over €598 billion in 2017 and €660 billion in 2018. For the time being, the UK, French and German markets between themselves accounted for 60% of European online revenues.
In the UK, total revenue is €157.1 billion, with an average outlay of €3,625 per year. However, Germany leads in terms of number of e-buyers, with 51.6 million customers compared to 43.4 million in the UK. “It is therefore surprising that none of these leading countries is featured in the top-10 ranking of the most dynamic B2C e-retailers. ”
In terms of growth, the top performance was recorded on the Ukrainian market, with a 35% increase in sales compared to 2014. It was followed by Turkey, with a 34.9% rise, then Belgium in third place with a 34.2% increase.
Overall growth needs to be driven by an increase in cross-border trade and a rise in the number of companies featured on the web. In fact, on the sales side, only 16% of the eurozone’s companies are currently selling online, and only 7.5% of them sell abroad.
“The three main challenges for merchants who are trying to develop a cross-border business are legal fragmentation, fiscal (VAT) and logistics issues,” underlined E-commerce Europe. “This is why the mission of E-commerce Europe is to foster cross-border e-commerce (…) calling for, among other things, simplified and more standardized consumption rules, as well as for open regulations and more effectiveness in improving parcel delivery.”
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