Date:01 June 2012
Europe Confirmed as Leader in Global e-Commerce
Europe has the largest e-commerce market in the world after recording 19% growth to overtake North America in 2011, according to figures from EMOTA
, the European Multi-channel and Online Trade Association. The total value of the European market was estimated at €246bn, leaving North America behind for the first time on €237bn.
Online retail sales now account for around 5.1% of the total value of the retail market in Europe, with 240 million e-shoppers spending an average of €1,000 each.
While the growth rates in some regions are currently far higher than those in Europe, particularly in Asia, these countries have e-commerce markets that are coming up from a comparatively low base and are still in the process of developing. The sophistication of retail offer, competitiveness, logistics infrastructures and technology available in the leading European e-commerce countries clearly result a very attractive proposition for online consumers.
Mobile is fast becoming a key channel for retailers. In the UK, sales through a mobile device (including tablets) have been rocketing. When the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index was launched in Q1 2010, the percentage of sales via mobile devices was recorded as 0.4% of e-retail sales. In Q4 2011 this hit 5.3%, a growth rate of 1,320% over the 2-year period.
In addition, recent research from the Federal Association of German Mail Order Traders Association (bvh
) found that one third of all smartphone owners in Germany (31.7%) use the device for mobile shopping. This represents an increase of 8.3% compared to the previous year.
Another sign of the strength of the European e-commerce market is the apparent willingness of consumers to purchase products cross-border:
Walter Devenuto, President of EMOTA
- According to the various language regions, Austrian and Swiss consumers shop at German websites, Belgians with French and/or Dutch websites, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and Finnish on websites of Scandinavian origin or in the US.
- The IMRG Delivery Index shows a an increasing trend of orders leaving the UK for cross-border destinations and according to data from Royal Mail:
- Australia was the leading growth market for UK distance-sellers, with November figures suggesting a 31% growth in package volumes going Down Under compared to the same period last year.
- European markets have also been faring well for UK e-commerce and mail order firms, including Greece, which despite its economic woes has been attracting 21% more packages from the UK this year, as well as Finland (20% higher volumes), Netherlands (20%) and France (19%). Denmark (10%), Switzerland (9.5%), Italy (7%) and Spain (6.9%) are also among the top European growth markets for British parcel shipments.
- Volumes going to the US have grown by 9.8% according to Royal Mail figures.
, said: “It is very encouraging to see that Europe is able to surpass a huge market such as that of North America to lead the world in e-commerce. While on average online retail sales account for around 5.1% of the total retail market in Europe, some of the more advanced markets are far ahead of that figure and as technology becomes more widespread in the smaller markets, we expect that this number, supported by 240,000 e-shoppers and rising, will also keep increasing.”James Roper, Vice-President of EMOTA and CEO of IMRG
, said: “Considering that Europe is currently experiencing an economic crisis, y-on-y growth of 19% is an outstanding performance to become the largest e-commerce region in the world. Mobile looks set to play an increasingly important role in this growth, as mobile internet access becomes more widespread supported by greater wi-fi availability. We are really seeing mobile shopping start to come of age now, with both UK visits and sales through the channel recording extraordinary growth over the past two years. It is also very clear that consumers are becoming more comfortable with shopping cross-border, with a familiar or shared language seeming to be an important factor in the decision making process.”Christoph Wenk-Fischer, CEO of BVH
, said: “The growth of the German online and mail-order business is impressive. In 2011 the e-commerce industry realized a growth of 18 percent. Considering the goods and services together in Germany in 2011 a turnover of 42 billion € was made in the B2C business. For the year 2012 the sales figures so far are already great.”
You can get further insights in this area from the open-access IMR Smart Knowledge Base
, the definitive resource for global e-commerce intelligence and data. This tool is available through the EMOTA and IMRG homepages and is free to all users.
EMOTA, the European Multi-channel and Online Trade Association, represents at present 16 ecommerce distance selling trade associations in 15 countries. As a non-profit organisation, EMOTA's primary objective is to represent at European level distance sellers of goods and services both on- and offline. EMOTA engages with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and all other stakeholders based on its insightful knowledge of market realities, with the aim to promote the sector, to accompany its phenomenal growth, to facilitate distance selling in Europe through all its channels of distribution, to encourage the secure and competitive delivery of products and services to European consumers and to increase consumer confidence and trust in e-business and distance selling activities.