European online sales grew by 11% in 2017, with still faster growth expected in 2018

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European ecommerce grew by 11% to €534bn in 2017, and is expected to grow still faster this year, according to today’s European B2C Ecommerce Report 2018.

The report suggests that in 2018, ecommerce will grow by 13% to €602bn – and points out that the 2018 figures, if they come about, would represent a near doubling of the ecommerce market from €307bn in 2013. 

Ecommerce is strongest in Western Europe, where 68% of total European online retail turnover comes. The UK remains the largest market, with €178bn spent each year – well ahead of second placed France (€93.2bn) and Germany (€93bn). In the UK, ecommerce turnover accounted for 7% of GDP, and 78% of shoppers are comfortable buying online. A third (33.5%) of UK ecommerce transactions went through Amazon, the report found.

There’s lower use of ecommerce in Southern Europe (12% of Europe’s annual online retail turnover), Northern Europe (8%) and Eastern Europe (6%), although these are the areas where growth is fastest. Romanian ecommerce, for example, grew by 37% in 2017.

Across Europe, 83% of shoppers are connected to the internet, rising to almost 95% in Northern Europe, and 25 to 54-year-olds buy online most frequently. More than a third (38%) of shoppers bought across geographical borders in 2017, with 19% buying from another EU country and 13% from an e-retailer outside the EU.

Barriers to shopping included speed of delivery and technical failure, while robust logistics proved critical to how successful ecommerce can be within a country.

Christian Verschueren, director-general of EuroCommerce, said: “These figures show how the fast-growing role of online sales is both driving, and responding to, changes in consumer purchasing behaviour. In those markets where this trend is still slow, much progress could be made if more was invested in the communications and logistical infrastructure which ecommerce needs to work effectively if it is to thrive. Meanwhile, we will continue to press for a regulatory regime which creates the right conditions for growth in all channels of sales and helps the EU compete globally in innovation in retail.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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