Research shows 40% of European e-shoppers make cross-border purchases
In 2016, 40% of European e-shoppers purchased goods or services from a vendor located in a EU country different from theirs. The figure means there is still a significant growth margin, especially considering the high number of European small businesses and SMEs which sell internationally - in France alone, the national e-commerce and distance selling federation FEVAD estimates that 55% of them currently do.
The Spanish market seems to be the most mature in terms of cross-border purchases, as 58% of local e-shoppers spent money abroad last year. A practice which is popular in Italy too, with 47% of consumers going cross-border, followed by those in the Netherlands (42%) and France (41%). Conversely, the huge German market, home to many European e-tail leaders, has a different approach, with only 26% of consumers going cross-border. As for the UK, the largest e-market in Europe, its figure is consistent with the European average, at 40%.
Last year, the European e-tail market was worth €530 billion, and UK e-tailers took the lion's share with €174 billion, a figure which is expected to come close to €200 billion in 2017. Germany follows the UK at a distance, with an e-tail market worth €77.9 billion, and France is third with €72 billion. There is quite a gap between the top three nations and their nearest pursuers: Spain, with €23.9 billion, the Netherlands with €20.2 billion and Italy with €19.9 billion.
At the end of 2015, only 7.5% of Eurozone e-tailers were selling abroad. According to FEVAD, some 68% of leading websites are now retailing internationally. In early 2017, a report compiled by e-commerce market researcher yStats revealed that more than 50% of online shoppers worldwide make transactions via e-tailers located in a country different from theirs, according to a series of surveys carried out in 2016 in several countries.
For a long time, the EU has worked on harmonising community regulations regarding e-commerce. Initially, the regulators had to deal with the free-returns policy adopted universally in Germany, which the country's e-tailers are keen to preserve. And now they are faced with another huge challenge in the form of Brexit, with its as yet undefined impact on transaction duties.
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