The larger e-commerce markets in northern and central Europe are highly developed. On the other hand, markets in the south and east have lagged somewhat, but are starting to catch up. Countries such as Spain, Italy and Poland are quickly increasing their Internet penetration – these up-and-coming e-commerce markets are definitely promising.
The most preferred online product categories in Europe are Clothing & Footwear, Home Electronics, Books, and Media Products. In recent years, there has been an increase in Cosmetics and Home Furnishing products.
Cross-Border purchases offer many benefits
As in most other parts of the world, conducting cross-border online purchases is becoming the norm among European consumers. The lower prices found in other countries is a strong driver for these types of purchases. It is also easier to find other products not easily available in the consumers’ own home market.
When Europeans purchase goods from other countries within Europe, the UK and Germany remain by far the most popular countries to buy from. Outside of Europe, the US is still a popular market, but the cross-border purchases from China have the highest volume growth.
Consumer Behavior – Multiple delivery & payment options needed
As for preferred payment methods, the European markets are quite diverse. While the use of debit or credit cards and invoices are favored in several markets, Pay Pal, or a similar payment option, is dominating the preferences in Spain and Italy. In Poland, more than 20% prefer to pay by cash on delivery (COD). The most important factor regarding delivery in most of the markets is cost.
Demands for faster delivery times have increased; a majority of online consumers expect the delivery to happen within 2-5 days. Yet, more buyers increasingly expect 1-2 days’ delivery. The European online consumers also find it positive to be able to choose where their products are to be delivered. Getting purchased goods delivered in the consumers’ own private mailbox is a popular alternative as well as picking it up themselves at service points. In some markets, buyers want to be able to choose a specific time of day (evening or daytime) for their deliveries.
Population: 750 million
Most common languages: English, French, German and Spanish
Predominant currency: Euro (EUR)
GDP: USD 14.5 trillion
Internet Penetration: 44%–98%