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European ecommerce sales set to reach €500bn in 2016: report

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Ecommerce sales in Europe are set to pass the €500bn (£380.9bn) milestone this year, a new report predicts today, after a year in which UK retailers took more than a third of all European online sales.

The forecast for 2016 comes in the European B2C Ecommerce Report, published by Ecommerce Europe, which finds that in the last year online transactions across Europe hit €455.3bn (£346.9bn) in 2015, 13.3% up on the same time last year. The report suggests that an estimated 296m online shoppers hailing from 48 European countries, including 28 that are members of the European Union, each spent an average of €1,540 (£1,173) over the internet last year. And that total is set to grow, the report suggested. “Nearly all growth in retail comes from ecommerce,” said the report. It added: “The full potential of the European ecommerce market has not yet been reached. Today 57% of European internet users shop online, but only 16% of SMEs sell online – and less than half of those sell online across borders (7.5%).”

The top 10 ecommerce countries in Europe account for 85% of all sales, the analysis found. The top three, the UK, France and Germany accounted for 61.9% of all European online turnover in 2015, the report found, while the following seven had 22.3% between them. They range from Russia, with 4.5% of European ecommerce, to Switzerland, with 1.9%.

The UK remained in the forefront, with 34.5% of all sales, totalling €157.1bn (£119.7bn), or €3,625 (£2,761) per shopper, although more Germans (51.6m) shopped online than in the UK (43.4m).

The fastest growth came from less mature markets: online shopping in Ukraine grew by 35% in 2015, compared to the previous year, followed by Turkey (34.9%), and Belgium (34.2%).

In 2015, the report found, cross-border sales grew, but from a low base. Some 16% of all individuals in the 28 countries of the European Union bought goods and/or services from other countries in that group. That’s 33% up on 2013. Popular reasons for buying cross-border, the report found, included more competitive prices and a wider range of goods and services.

The report estimates that there were 750,000 active B2C websites in Europe in 2015, and that more than 4.2bn parcels were sent during the year.

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