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Netherlands and Switzerland are the top online shoppers in the EU

By Marjorie van Elven

2 Jul 2018


When it comes to shopping online, the Dutch and the Swiss are European champions, according to the 2018 report on e-commerce in Europe, published today by EuroCommerce. 98 percent of Dutch and Swiss citizens said to have used the Internet in the last 12 months, out of which 82 percent have made at least one online purchase during this period. They are followed by Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, where 80 percent of Internet users have bought something online in 2017.

Eastern European countries come at the other end of the spectrum. In Macedonia, for example, a mere 20 percent of Internet users have purchased something online in the last 12 months. Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia also come last on the list, with percentages ranging between 26 percent and 32 percent. But they are on their way to reaching Northern European levels, with online retail continuing its double-digit growth in the continent in 2017. E-commerce turnover increased by 12.75 percent to 540 billion euros (630 billion USD) last year.

Southern Europe is pushing this growth, as e-commerce grew from 14.5 percent to 17.7 percent in the region between 2017 and 2018. However, when considering individual countries, Romania is the one which has seen the biggest growth in 2017, with a 37 percent rate.

E-commerce growth rate led by cross-border shopping

Another interesting finding about Southern and Eastern Europe is that online shoppers from these regions are keen on buying items at websites from other countries. While only 20 percent of Macedonians report to have shopped online last year, 85 percent of those purchases were made at foreign websites. Similar results were found in Portugal, where 36 percent of Internet users have made an online purchase in 2017, of which 85 percent happened at a non-Portuguese web address.

If cross-border shopping is on the rise, one cannot help but wonder: which European country is benefitting the most from this trend? According to the report, UK retailers are getting the biggest share of European e-commerce turnover, having earned 177.7 billion euros (207 billion USD) in 2017. France and Germany come next, with 93.2 billion euros (108.6 billion USD), and 93 billion euros (108.3 billion USD) in revenue, respectively.

While shopping online is a common reality for the population of Northern European countries, this also means there is little room for e-commerce growth. Out of all European countries, Sweden had the lowest growth rate in 2017, at just 4 percent. E-commerce is not growing much in Switzerland and the Netherlands, either: although the Swiss and Dutch are avid online shoppers, their e-commerce growth rates were of 9 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Picture: Pixabay

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