The European e-commerce landscape is changing
Since “E-commerce in Europe” was published for the first time in 2014, major changes have occurred in the European market. The number of consumers who shop online has steadily increased, especially in Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain. The average amount for each online purchase has also increased as consumers buy more types of products and also do so more frequently. EU policy initiatives to increase access to the internet, expand broadband infrastructure and eliminate mobile phone roaming fees provide are important factors behind these trends. European countries are clearly becoming more equal regarding digitization, and are moving towards a common e-commerce market.
International marketplaces drive purchasing frequency
More and more consumers are shopping at the major marketplaces – the digital bazaars where e-tailers compete with each other for customers. A distinct effect of the growth of marketplaces is the increase in consumer purchasing frequency. In countries where more people shop online from marketplaces, the share of consumers who shop online every week is higher also. This is probably because it is convenient to shop at marketplaces, and because they also often offer attractive member benefits. A well-known membership service is Amazon Prime, which provides access to Amazon’s streaming service, discount coupons, and most importantly: free shipping.
More payment solutions means better business
While e-commerce in European countries is becoming more standardized, there are major differences regarding payment methods. It’s imperative for online stores to understand their local market and know how consumers want to pay. Shops offering several alternatives are the most successful ones. In France, Italy, Spain and the UK, consumers prefer credit cards, Paypal or similar services. Greater variation can be found in other countries, while in some places, local payment services have a strong position. For example, in the Netherlands and Poland direct payment to the bank is common. In Germany and the Nordics, consumers rely to a large degree on payment by invoice.