In many ways, e-commerce in European countries is becoming more standardized, but there are major differences in which payment method are preferred. Online stores need to understand their markets and know how consumers want to pay. Those retailers who offer many alternatives are usually the most successful. In France, Italy, Spain and the UK, consumers prefer credit cards, Paypal, or similar services. Greater variation can be found in other countries; in many, local options have a strong position. In the Netherlands and Poland, direct payment via bank account (also known as direct debit) is common. Poland is also the only country in Europe where cash-on-delivery is relatively common.
The Nordic region and Germany rely to a large degree on payment by invoice. This has been the case since e-commerce was in its infancy, and this behavior is showing no signs of changing. Not surprising perhaps, considering that today’s invoice apps can track invoice payments and make it possible to freeze the payment if the order is to be returned. In addition, invoice purchases mean that consumers do not have to pay any money if they make a return.
Overall, alternative payment methods are becoming more popular, with strong growth expected over the next few years. In the more developed countries, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Klarna are in growth phases. Chinese WeChatPay and Alipay have dominated their domestic market for a long time, but are now also spreading around the world. These payment methods are often directly connected to the consumer’s bank and offer convenient authorization solutions. Thus, it’s well worth knowing what payment options customers prefer in order for retailers to give them the best shopping experience.
Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link
Image and information above taken from the latest ”E-commerce in Europe” report.