Belgium’s e-commerce sector has grown rapidly in recent years. The country is above the European average for Internet penetration, but at the same time below average for both number of online consumers and yearly spending. However, the growth of new e-commerce consumers has been clearly above average, at 30 percent between 2014 and 2018. The products most bought in Belgium are clothes and footwear, home electronics, and cosmetics.
High delivery demands
Just like consumers in the neighboring Netherlands, Belgian consumers expect fast deliveries. At the same time, more than 80 percent of the consumers say that they would not consider paying for faster delivery. As in the Netherlands, Belgians have high expectations of deliveries, with speed being regarded as standard rather than a paid-for extra service. This is probably because of the countries’ particular prerequisites with very short distances, but it is a situation that sellers must take into account – especially when parcels are sent from abroad.
Buying from their neighbors
Belgium differs from the rest of Europe with regard to e-commerce from abroad. In nearly all European countries covered by this report, China and the UK are the countries that most people say that they buy from. In Belgium, it is the Netherlands that shoppers buy from the most. The two countries are connected historically, and both are small and densely populated which reduces transport distances considerably. Another factor is that Belgium has a large Flemish population which speaks Dutch, and this helps to drive trade between the countries.
Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link
PostNord/Direct Link has conducted studies of the European e-commerce market since 2014, presenting its findings in the report “E-commerce in Europe”. The report is 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 covered by this year’s “E-commerce in Europe 2018”. The new 2018 report can be ordered free of charge.
For more in-depth information about consumer behavior in the Nordics, you can also order our report “E-commerce in the Nordics”.