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There are many reasons for consumers to shop online from foreign markets. The most common are a large selection of products, being able to find unique items, lower prices, or quite simply pure curiosity. Yet overall, the strongest driving force for shopping from abroad is the chance to find lower prices. Since most major brands now sell their products globally, many items are standardized and this allows for easy price comparisons. When shoppers realize that price levels differ between countries, they are inclined to shop where the lowest prices can be found.
Delivery times usually do not pose an obstacle as they tend to be quite short within Europe, even across borders. Interestingly, low prices appear to be an important factor regardless of how mature and developed the e-commerce market is in a country. For example, in both well-developed UK and fast-growing Poland, low prices are essentially equally important to shoppers. However, when it comes to product selection the situation is different. In larger markets with a highly developed e-commerce sector, such as France, Germany, and the UK, a large selection of products does not earn particularly high ratings – consumers take this more or less for granted.
In contrast, a large product selection is highly rated in Italy, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Even though e-commerce is well-developed in Norway and Sweden, these countries are small and thus the product range is perceived as small. At the same time, Italy and Poland are large markets but here e-commerce has not come as far as in France, Germany or the UK, which also limits the range of products.
PostNord/Direct Link has conducted studies of the European e-commerce market since 2014, presenting its findings every year in the report “E-commerce in Europe”. The reports are based on interviews with consumers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
In a series of blog posts, we will take a closer look at the individual e-commerce markets in this year’s “E-commerce in Europe 2019”.
Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link