E-commerce in Europe – A great comparison of European markets
“E-commerce” is a term that includes all transactions made through the Internet, so in fact it is a term that defines business on the Internet as a whole. It therefore includes everything from e-shops through internet services to online marketing, PR articles and the like.
And like any other business activity, the amount of money spent in e-commerce can be measured, so we can easily get an idea of how e-business and everything closely related to it is thriving in individual European countries. And particularly the state of e-commerce in European countries will be the topic of the following lines.
E-commerce is ruled by the USA, Japan and China, but Western European countries are in the pipeline
However, before we focus on the individual European e-commerce markets and show how they are doing and which companies are among the largest players in those markets, we will focus on comparing the European e-commerce market in the global perspective. The numbers are very similar to the European economy compared to the global one – it is right behind great powers such as the USA, Japan and China. In fact, in general, it could be said that, with a few exceptions, e-commerce almost perfectly copies the development and economic prosperity of the countries.
The exceptions are, for example, India and Brazil, which in terms of GDP are among the most economically active countries, but lag slightly behind in e-commerce. Even worse are African countries, with the possible exception of South Africa and Nigeria (these are, among other things, in the ranking on similar places as the Czech Republic). In all these cases, however, it is to some extent caused by less availability of the Internet connection and poor logistics structure.
Globally, however, it can be said that the e-commerce market is experiencing an unusual boom, including the European market. The proof to this is, that in most countries it has grown by 10 to 30% over the past year (2020)! This, of course, was greatly aided by the coronavirus pandemic, which according to certain sources accelerated the development of the global e-commerce market by several years.
European e-commerce markets – How are they doing and which companies are dominating them?
Belgium is the world’s 24th largest e-commerce market with total sales of $ 5.5 billion. Despite its relatively high maturity, when more than half of the population is commonly used to shopping online, it is expected to grow in the coming years (approximately 8-10%). Surprisingly, the most popular segment of Belgian e-commerce is fashion, which makes up exactly one third of all online transactions. It is immediately followed by electronics (23%), toys and DIY equipment (19%), furniture and appliances (16%) and food + personal care products (9%).
3 largest e-commerce companies in Belgium:
1.) bol.com ($ 484 million)
2.) coolblue.be ($ 402 million)
3.) zalando.be ($ 261 million)
Together, these 3 companies take care of as much as 20% of all Belgian e-commerce online revenue. One of the fastest growing online stores on the Belgian market is farmaline.be, which increased its sales by more than 50% in 2019.
The Czech e-commerce market is one of the most advanced if we compare it with the overall economic situation of the country, namely the 36th largest e-commerce market with revenues of over $ 3.3 billion. Its growth is still expected in the coming years, but not as significant as recently – in the next 4 years, we forecast an average of 7% growth for the Czech Republic. In terms of segments, electronics and fashion share first place, with both categories accounting for approximately 30%.
3 largest e-commerce companies in the Czech Republic:
1.) alza.cz ($ 1.730 million)
2.) mall.cz ($ 280 million)
3.) czc.cz ($ 147 million)
By far the biggest player on the Czech e-commerce market is alza.cz, which is responsible for very large portion of the total sales in the Czech Market. Out ff the fast-growing e-commerce projects, it is worth mentioning, for example, funidelia.cz, which has recently doubled its sales.
Of the Nordic countries, Danish e-commerce is the worst off, ranking 29th in the world with revenues of $ 4.5 billion. Although not much money is spent on it, the Danish market is well balanced, diversified and stable. Proof that the 3 largest e-commerce companies only care about 10% of online revenue. So this is an extremely healthy market. In the next 4 years, constant growth of 9% per year is expected, ie approximately the same as recently.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Denmark:
1.) zalando.dk ($ 223 million)
2.) elgiganten.dk ($ 197 million)
3.) bilka.dk ($ 105 million)
Even in the case of Denmark, the largest amount of money in e-commerce spins in fashion, in addition to zalando.dk, also important to mention is skechers.dk, which is one of the fastest growing online stores there, and electronics market elgiganten.dk.
Finnish e-commerce is quite similar to Danish, at least in terms of revenue – almost $ 4.5 billion. However, it differs in its market structure, as it is more significantly dominated by the online store verkkokauppa.com. Even so, the Finnish market is one of the healthier ones, because the 3 largest companies generate only 15% of sales. According to forecasts, it is expected to grow by 8% in the coming years, similar to the rest of Western and Northern Europe.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Finland:
1.) verkkokauppa.com ($ 341 million)
2.) gigantti.fi ($ 176 million)
3.) zalando.fi ($ 119 million)
Although the largest online clothing store Zalando is not missing among the 3 largest e-commerce companies in Finland, fashion is only the third most popular category in this Nordic country. E-commerce in Finland is dominated by toys and DIY products!
France is one of the largest giants in the field of e-commerce, in Europe with sales of 46 billion USD it ranks 3rd, then globally seventh. In addition, it is a market that has the potential to continue its growth in recent years. To be precise, French e-commerce is expected to grow by 10% year-by-year basis in the next 4 years. There are still about 30% of French people who do not shop online.
3 largest e-commerce companies in France:
1.) amazon.fr ($ 4 billion)
2.) cdiscount.com ($ 2.6 billion)
3.) auchan.fr ($ 1.6 billion)
France is known for its fashion, so it’s no wonder that most French people spend online online just for fashion. The prettylittlething.fr e-shop, which is one of the fastest growing French online stores, is also in the field of fashion. Compared to other European countries, however, there are slightly lower sales of electronics (19%).
Few would expect Croatian e-commerce to be in 66th place behind Algeria. But this is really the case, Croats are not used to shopping online, only half of them have experience with something like this. On the other hand, it gives this market huge opportunities for the future. According to study, the next 4 years should mean a 17% increase in Croatian e-commerce every year!
3 largest e-commerce companies in Croatia:
1.) ekupi.hr ($ 23 million)
2.) zara.com ($ 19 million)
3.) konzum.hr ($ 17 million)
Compared to other markets, a high share of e-commerce in the area of food and personal care can be observed in Croatia. After all, the local grocery store konzum.hr is also one of the three largest e-commerce companies.
The Irish e-commerce market is only 42nd behind many other european markets. At the same time, it has experienced one of the biggest booms in Europe in recent years, specifically exceeding the 10% growth threshold for several years in a row, with 2 out of 3 Irish people shopping here and there online. However, the market in Ireland has already become relatively saturated, so a slight decline in growth is expected in the coming years, but the expected 13% is still more than enough compared to other countries western European countries.
The 3 largest e-commerce companies in Ireland:
1.) amazon.co.uk ($ 236 million)
2.) argos.ie ($ 186 million)
3.) tesco.ie ($ 177 million)
The list of these companies clearly illustrates that the Irish e-commerce market is similar, except of course in terms of money, to the British one. Among the three largest e-commerce companies are the same companies that rule in the British Isles.
Southern countries are not among the most advanced in the field of internet commerce (see for example Croatia), but Italy is an exception, e-commerce revenues amount to almost 17 billion, which makes Italy the 15th most advanced e-commerce market in the world. It is even more developed than the Dutch market, despite the fact that only 52% of Italians buy something online from time to time. So this market still has room to grow – by 2023, 12% growth is expected every year.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Italy:
1.) amazon.it ($ 2.9 billion)
2.) zalando.it ($ 517 million)
3.) apple.com ($ 358 million)
However, it is worse with the health of the Italian e-commerce market, as it has been more conquered by Amazon. On the other hand, the Italian market is unusually wide, so there is no risk of a monopoly. As for the markets, fashion and electronics lead again (28% each).
The Baltic countries are not among the leading players in the field of e-commerce, a clear exception is perhaps only Lithuania, although it is also among the countries such as Sri Lanka or Ecuador in terms of market size. This is due to the absolute minimum of trust in online shops among Lithuanians, only 46% of them shop like this. In addition, unlike similar markets, a jump is not expected here, and the next 4 years should bring about the same growth (around 10%) as the last ones.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Lithuania:
1.) pigu.lt ($ 53 million)
2.) senukai.lt ($ 36 million)
3.) topocentras.lt ($ 23 million)
As in Finland, Lithuania spends the most money on e-commerce goods and services related to toys and DIY needs (more than 40%!). Lithuanian e-commerce’s total revenues then do not exceed three-quarters of a billion USD.
The Hungarian e-commerce market is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe, growing by more than 30% every year. It stopped at the current 54th place, 2 places ahead of the Slovak one. However, less than half of Hungarians still have experience shopping online, so there is still room for growth. In terms of numbers, annual growth of less than 20% is expected by 2023, so the growth rate will slow down slightly.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Hungary:
1.) emag.hu ($ 106 million)
2.) alza.hu ($ 74 million)
3.) tesco.hu ($ 63 million)
Among the largest Hungarian e-commerce companies, the Czech Alza, which is even the fastest growing company on the local market or Tesco, which enjoys similar popularity in Britain or Slovakia, are definitely interesting.
The second largest European and fifth global e-commerce market is the German one with sales of more than $ 74 billion. This is due to the large purchasing power of the population and also to the fact that the Germans are used to shopping online, more precisely, around 70% of them order something online every year. The most common is electronics, which make up less than 30% of the total amount of money spent in e-commerce.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Germany:
1.) amazon.de ($ 11.7 billion)
2.) otto.de ($ 3.8 billion)
3.) zalando.de ($ 1.8 billion)
If we look at the most developed European markets, they always have one thing in common – namely that the largest e-commerce company in the country is Amazon, the same is true for Germany. The German e-commerce market is expected to grow by 10% in the coming years (compared to 8% growth in the British one), so in a few years it should even become the European leader.
Given the advanced Dutch economy, you might expect the local e-commerce market to be in better than 16th place worldwide. In addition, the Dutch market is expected to slow down its growth by around 1-2% per year in the coming years. This is due to the fact that it is already sufficiently saturated, as it is regularly used by almost 3/4 of Dutch people. The categories are again dominated by fashion (34%) and electronics (22%).
3 largest e-commerce companies in the Netherlands:
1.) bol.com ($ 1.3 billion)
2.) coolblue.nl ($ 1.2 billion)
3.) wehkamp.nl ($ 760 million)
As in the case of Belgium, the leaders in the Dutch e-commerce market are Bol and CoolBlue, which focus on a wide range of goods. Of the fast-growing companies, jdsports.nl (fashion) is worth mentioning. In any case, it is a stable market with a healthy competitive environment.
If you are expecting a Norwegian e-commerce market somewhere at the level of the Swedish one, then we have to mislead you, because it is relatively well behind it. Specifically, it is approximately 50% smaller, which is logical given the little amount of people in Norway. At the same time, it is also one of the most saturated markets ever, with 4 out of 5 Norwegians normally shopping online, so it is expected to stagnate slightly in the next four years. In terms of numbers, its growth will slow by 1 to 2 percent.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Norway:
1.) komplett.no ($ 228 million)
2.) elkjop.no ($ 199 million)
3.) zalando.no ($ 156 million)
As the Norwegian e-commerce market loses its size, it catches up with its stability and maturity. Proof of this is its healthy competitive environment with high diversity, where the 3 largest companies have only a 10% share of the online business market.
The e-commerce market in Poland is relatively underdeveloped compared to the strength of the Polish economy, although it still occupies a very decent position at the end of the top ten on a European scale. In the coming years, we can still expect about 15% growth, which was recorded last year. The main key to growth will be to persuade Poles not to be afraid to shop online, as currently only everyone else does so.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Poland:
1.) euro.com.pl ($ 287 million)
2.) bonprix.pl ($ 241 million)
3.) mediaexpert.pl ($ 238 million)
Unlike most Eastern European and many Western European e-commerce markets, the Polish one can be considered highly competitive, as it is not significantly dominated by one of the companies or a group of companies.
If we were to choose one of the least developed e-commerce markets in Europe, given the size of the country’s economy, then it would definitely be the Portuguese one, in which less than $ 3 billion a year turns. The culprit is the woefully low level of online penetration, which is a figure that captures how many locals buy online at least once a year – only 47%. In the coming years, the Portuguese market is expected to grow steadily by around 11% per year.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Portugal:
1.) amazon.es ($ 77 million)
2.) zara.com ($ 75 million)
3.) apple.com ($ 72 million)
The view of the 3 largest e-commerce companies in Portugal gives a sad look from the point of view of the local economy, because some of the local companies are missing among them. Thus, purely Portuguese e-commerce companies will need to take hold in order to recover the market, the fashion store kicks.pt has, for example, the potential.
You might expect Austrian e-commerce a little higher than 22nd in the world. But if we look at it from the point of view that it is in the company of Norwegian and Swiss e-commerce, it suggests that the Austrian market is not so bad. Although in comparison with other Western European countries, Austrians are less used to shopping online. However, this gives room for market growth – it is expected to be around 8% next year.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Austria:
1.) amazon.de ($ 934 million)
2.) zalando.at ($ 388 million)
3.) universal.at ($ 125 million)
The Austrian e-commerce market is also slightly rewarding the fact that there is practically no more serious local competition for Amazon and Zalando. On the contrary, the maturity of Austrian e-commerce in the field of health and personal care remains positive, for example shop-apotheke.at.
E-commerce in Romania is one of the smallest in Europe, with sales barely exceeding $ 1.5 billion. Despite the fact that the Romanian market has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, it was even 40% year-on-year last year. However, the growth rate is expected to slow by about half in the coming years, but the Romanian e-commerce market will still be one of the fastest growing in Europe.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Romania:
1.) emag.ro ($ 604 million)
2.) fashiondays.ro ($ 81 million)
3.) dedeman.ro ($ 80 million)
In no other European country will you find such a dominant e-commerce company as Emag in Romania. It takes care of more than a third of all e-commerce sales! Again, there is not much to talk about in a healthy competitive environment.
The Russian e-commerce market is in a way specific, as it is strongly influenced by Asia, on which most of this country lies. It is the twelfth largest market in the world with e-commerce sales of around $ 20 billion. It is also a significantly growing market, in recent years the growth rate has not fallen below 10%. However, a sharp increase in the amount of money in Russian e-commerce is not expected in the coming years, despite the fact that currently only 40% of Russians buy goods and services online.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Russia:
1.) wildberries.ru ($ 3.2 billion)
2.) mvideo.ru ($ 1.4 billion)
3.) ozon.ru ($ 823 million)
Most of all, electronics products are sold in Russia. Compared to traditional European countries, e-commerce food is not so widespread here, on the contrary, the recent trend is flowers – the fastest growing Russian e-commerce company is floradelivery.ru, which deals with their sales and distribution.
Many of you must remember the recent downturn in the Greek economy. This suggests that Greek e-commerce will not be twice as good. However, its 45th place among the world’s e-commerce markets with sales of almost $ 2.5 billion is even more than favorable given the circumstances. In addition, it is a market that offers great opportunities for growth, specifically until 2023, stable annual growth of 15 to 17% is expected.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Greece:
1.) e-shop.gr ($ 109 million)
2.) plaisio.gr ($ 79 million)
3.) zara.com ($ 54 million)
Equally pleasing is the finding that most of Greece’s largest e-commerce companies are local companies. This makes the Greek e-commerce market a stable environment supporting the local economy.
If you think that Serbia is in the same way in terms of e-commerce as the other Balkan states, then we will only partially agree with you, because it is probably worse than you think – it is close to 76th place from the global point of view. before Uzbekistan, with sales of only $ 370 million. Moreover, a jump in the balance is not expected in the coming years, when only 35% of Serbs shop online. Growth is estimated at 11% per year.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Serbia:
1.) gigatron.rs ($ 29 million)
2.) tehnomanija.rs ($ 12 million)
3.) apotekaonline.rs ($ 10 million)
Compared to other European countries, Serbian e-commerce companies are practically insignificant, at least in terms of their sales. However, the fact that Serbs are most interested in toys, do-it-yourself items and furniture must not go unnoticed. On the contrary, they do not tolerate electronics at all.
This year, for the first time, it is assumed that the volume of Slovak revenues from e-commerce will exceed the magical billion mark (in dollars). At the same time, however, a more significant slowdown in the market is expected, which should slow down from 17% year-on-year growth to 10% annual growth. This is also due to the increasing interest of Slovaks in online shopping, so practically every second shopper. However, the Slovak market still undoubtedly has its drawbacks.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Slovakia:
1.) alza.sk ($ 346 million)
2.) mall.sk ($ 60 million)
3.) itesco.sk ($ 36 million)
Alza also dominates the Slovak e-commerce market, which would not be so surprising, but it is surprising by how much. Also interesting is the larger amount of money in e-commerce closely related to food and personal care products, compared to the Czech Republic.
Given the small size of the country and the small population, it cannot be assumed that Slovenia will ever play an important role in e-commerce – the $ 415 million spent on it is fully in line with its potential. However, if we look at the local market, it is relatively well structured and local companies are more successful in it. From the point of view of growth and habits, it is quite similar to the Slovak market – even here less than half of the population is used to shopping online + growth of around 10% is expected.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Slovenia:
1.) mimovrste.com ($ 55 million)
2.) merkur.si ($ 16 million)
3.) bigbang.si ($ 14 million)
The structure of the most popular categories in the Slovenian e-commerce market is practically no different from the European average. The most popular are products from the categories fashion (30%), hobby (26%) and electronics (23%).
The Spanish e-commerce market is perhaps surprisingly developed and large – more than $ 17 billion a year. This ranks him right behind Russia, which has a disproportionately larger population. Furthermore, again, Amazon’s dominant position in this southwestern market cannot be overlooked. In recent years, the Spaniards have plunged into online shopping, so in the coming years we can expect a slight cooling of the Spanish e-commerce market, namely growth will slow from 16 to 12%.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Spain:
1.) amazon.es ($ 3 billion)
2.) elcorteingles.es ($ 814 million)
3.) carrefour.es ($ 457 million)
In contrast to other markets, Spanish e-commerce, in addition to classic categories such as fashion and electronics, also deals with food and cosmetics. Proof of this is that Carrefour is among the largest local companies and nyxcosmetics.es is again the most progressive e-commerce company.
The Swedish e-commerce market is the largest in the region of Northern Europe, specifically the volume of total revenues in the last monitored period did not exceed $ 10 billion. Like other Nordic e-commerce markets, the Swedish one is advanced in terms of its structure and stability. Sweden is also one of the few countries where almost three quarters of locals are used to shopping online.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Sweden:
1.) netonnet.se ($ 326 million)
2.) apotea.se ($ 277 million)
3.) elgiganten.se ($ 276 million)
In the coming years, the Swedish e-commerce market is expected to stagnate slightly, or it is predicted that revenue will continue to grow by around 8-9%. Its only visible weakness is the lower development of the online food market.
Switzerland’s economy is synonymous with a stable and strong economy. However, due to the distribution of the market, where financial institutions dominate, the local e-commerce market lacks slightly behind. In addition, compared to other European markets, it is growing relatively slowly – by about 7% per year, with a slight increase expected to 9% in the coming years. Also of interest is the lower confidence of Swiss in online shopping compared to other developed Western European countries.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Switzerland:
1.) zalando.ch ($ 326 million)
2.) digitec.ch ($ 277 million)
3.) amazon.de ($ 276 million)
Thanks to the local Digitec online electronics store, electronics is the most sought-after category (31%), followed by fashion (20%). Compared to the rest of Europe, there is practically no e-commerce in the field of toys and DIY needs (only 9%).
It is precisely the Turkish e-commerce market, which in terms of its size is located next to the Swiss. In addition, it is a market that has huge potential. In recent years alone, it has grown by 24% every year, and by 2023, growth of 4% faster is expected. Not to mention that at the moment, only one in four Turks is used to using the services of one of the online entrepreneurs.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Turkey:
1.) trendyol.com ($ 661 million)
2.) hepsiburada.com ($ 585 million)
3.) lcwaikiki.com ($ 276 million)
The Turkish market is specific in that it hardly promotes classic European e-commerce brands, so it is significantly influenced by Asia, in which Turkey is located for most of its territory.
The Ukrainian e-commerce market is one of the most unpredictable in Europe, as its growth rate fluctuates significantly. While in recent years it has attacked the 50% limit, in the coming years it is expected to fall to the still decent 21%. This is despite the fact that the Ukrainian market is certainly not yet saturated, as only a third of Ukrainians contribute to the 550 million pool of Ukrainian e-commerce sales (in USD) with their purchases.
3 largest e-commerce companies in Ukraine:
1.) apple.com ($ 70 million)
2.) makeup.com.ua ($ 63 million)
3.) apteka911.com.ua ($ 43 million)
E-commerce in Ukraine has an interesting structure, dominated by electronics led by Apple. It is much more remarkable, however, that among the three largest Ukrainian e-commerce companies are two in the category of personal care, it is nowhere else in Europe.
Finally, the best, with British e-commerce being the largest in Europe with sales of over $ 82 billion! This is also due to the fact that the British are in the habit of shopping abundantly online, specifically they buy more than 80% of them every year. In addition, the growth rate of the British e-commerce market is expected to remain stable in the coming years, which is currently around 8%.
The 3 largest e-commerce companies in the UK:
1.) amazon.co.uk ($ 9.8 billion)
2.) tesco.com ($ 4.6 billion)
3.) argos.co.uk ($ 3.7 billion)
Unsurprisingly, Amazon and the British Tesco are among the first, which is the leader in the local food market not only in the field of e-commerce. Of the fast-growing projects, it is worth mentioning, for example, the American Gymshark, which is beginning to gain a stronger foothold in the British market.
TOP European e-commerce markets
The largest markets + their comparison with the Czech Republic
The amounts shown are in millions of dollars.
The smallest markets + their comparison with the Czech Republic
The amounts shown are in millions of dollars.
Markets with unexpectedly good results
Markets with unexpectedly poor results
The largest European e-commerce company
The amounts are in billions of USD.
Markets with the least potential
1.) Czech Republic – 7%
2.) Finland – 8%
3.) Norway – 8%
4.) Great Britain – 8%
The future of European e-commerce. Which markets have the greatest potential?
If we should analyze the current situation in the European e-commerce market with a view to future developments, we would do best to divide European markets into four categories according to the position of countries: Western European markets, northern and central European markets, southern European markets and Eastern European markets. . Each of these groups has its own specifics and is expected to develop slightly differently.
Let’s start with Western European markets (Great Britain, Germany, France, etc.). It is typical for them that due to high incomes of the population and widespread habits of buying goods and services online, they have high sales. These are therefore highly saturated markets, in which no significant growth is expected. Simply put, especially because they no longer have much place to grow.
The situation on the markets of northern and central Europe is quite similar, especially the northern European ones are already almost saturated. The situation in Central Europe is less readable, as there are already almost exhausted markets (Czech Republic), but also those with a relatively large potential for growth (Poland).
Southern European markets in the western part of Europe are large in terms of e-commerce revenue, but suffer a lot from the fact that local brands are hardly promoted here. However, these are countries with a moderately fast growth rate of around 10%. The situation is even more interesting in the east, with markets such as Croatia and Slovenia having even greater growth potential, mainly due to the growing interest of the local population in online shopping and rising incomes.
The markets with the greatest potential in Europe can then be found in the east. The largest increase in e-commerce by 2023 is expected in the following countries:
1.) Turkey – 28%
2.) Ukraine – 21%
3.) Romania – 20%
4.) Hungary – 18%
These are markets that have not yet reached their potential, mainly due to the low willingness of people to use online services. At the same time, these are markets located close to Asia, so in the future they are expected to come to Asian investors, who will further accelerate the growth of e-commerce there.
A short summary of the most important
The largest players in the e-commerce market are the USA, China and Japan, and in Europe the United Kingdom and Germany.
The growth of the global e-commerce market has been significantly accelerated by the coronavirus situation. Compared to the world, however, the European market is growing a little slower (the growth of the European market is 14%, while globally the market is growing by 17%).
The maturity of e-commerce in a given country is mainly influenced by the income of the population, the development of the local economy and the willingness of people to spend money in the online environment.
The e-commerce markets of Western, Northern and Central Europe are developed, but their growth rates are expected to slow down.
Eastern and Southern European e-commerce markets should be the fastest growing in the coming years. Most of them are located in close proximity to Asia.
Amazon, Zalando and Tesco have a dominant position among European e-commerce companies.