eCommerce in Europe – Statistics, Trends and Outlook

March 23, 2016

In our global eCommerce blog series we have covered a number of countries and regions and now we will take a closer look at Europe as a whole. The European economy and European eCommerce landscape have been greatly affected by several factors that pose significant challenges to the EU recently, such as immigration, particularly the Syrian refugee crisis, as well as the financial crisis in Greece and several other Southern European countries.


The Global eCommerce Summit in Barcelona is a few short months away and European businesses and policy makers are also preparing for the annual eCommerce Europe Annual Conference 2016 which occurs the day before the Global Summit. During this event, businesses can share best practices with their peers and help shape policies, rules and regulations. Policy makers can gain further insight as to where the industry is heading and get direct input from the very entities that are affected by any policy changes the most.

A Quick Look at the European eCommerce Landscape

There are currently 645,000 retail websites in Europe delivering over 3.7 billion pieces of merchandise each year and responsible for creating 2 million jobs.


gpi-european ecommerce-1

Source: Twenga Solutions

The Stats:

  • eCommerce generated over 363 billion euros in 2015.
  • Europeans spend an average of $1,916 per year online.
  • 32% of the European population are considered online shoppers (565 million).
  • The UK is the European leader with 5.61% of the GDP coming from eCommerce.
  • Europe's eCommerce market (110%) grew faster than North America's (71%) and was only surpassed by Asia (302%).
  • Western Europe has a market share of almost 50% compared to Southern Europe (11.1%) and Central Europe at 25.7%.

Europe and Mobile

If we look at mobile penetration we can see that Central and Eastern Europe have the highest percentage globally ahead of South America, the Middle East, Asia and North America. Last on the list remains the continent of Africa. Overall online spending on mobile devices increased from 12.5% in 2014 to 20% in 2015 in Europe.


gpi-european ecommerce-2

Source: MyCustomer

What Does Europe Buy Online?


gpi-european ecommerce-3



The graph above shows what Europeans spend their money on when shopping online. The leading products are clothes and shoes and that trend is pretty much consistent across the board among most countries tracked in the graph.


The second largest category is books and electronics followed by beauty products.


In the food category, which is last in the graph, we see that the UK spends almost twice as much as Germany on food purchases and far more than any other country listed.

European eCommerce - Outlook

The overall eCommerce growth rate between 2014 and 2015 was around 18% and the industry is expected to grow at the same rate in 2016, valued at more than $257 billion. European powerhouses such as the UK, France and Germany, will lead in market share compared to most other European countries. But a growing share will be going to countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands.


Several US retailers have been dominating the eCommerce landscape, led by Amazon, as the overall leading online retailer in all of Europe. That is not to say that Europe doesn't also have their own versions of this online giant as only 3 out of the top ten European retailers are US companies, Apple and Staples are the other two aside from Amazon. Europe's leading online retailers are household names such as Otto (German), Tesco (UK), Shop Direct Group (UK) and Groupe Casino (France).


Whether a European or US company, or any other global retailer for that matter, the European eCommerce market will remain strong and robust and an important strategic target for any online retailer looking to grow their global footprint.

Further GPI Resources on Website Translation, Global SEO and eCommerce Translation Services


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