Europe’s eCommerce markets are expanding annually, with an expected year-on-year growth rate of 12%. This expansion is more complex than in other regions as a variety of companies outside of the usual suspects have blossomed. While monopolies rule a large part of the rest of the world’s eCommerce market, this is less so the case in Europe, with a more fractured market.
Such a state of affairs lends itself to many opportunities. Certain areas are ripe for new entrants while others are entrenched in their eCommerce market trends. Some regions have a proclivity towards online shopping while other areas might not.
While we’ve previously covered eCommerce trends in past articles, this one is dedicated to geographic trends in Europe. Thus, this article will look at the state of the regional markets as it stands in 2022, comparing Eastern and Western Europe along the way.
Another reason to monitor e-commerce growth in Europe is because of its shared legal infrastructure. Due to the GDPR, online retail companies have had minimal data to work with and large data collectors like Google and Amazon have been hit with fines. This makes it a fertile ground for local competition.
Top eCommerce Platforms in Europe
While Amazon is the most commonly used platform in Europe when the continent is taken as a whole, this fact can be deceptive. For example, regions like the Netherlands have popular platforms that Amazon has not been able to crack. Similarly, while Amazon is the biggest in general goods, the top eCommerce websites in Germany also include competitors with more hold over niche markets.
Online retailers like Otto and Zalando have quite a foothold in many regions as well. For electronics, Apple does fairly well with its digital marketplace. When it comes to Black Friday, Bol (particularly in the Netherlands) also beats out Amazon for key holiday prices. These instances prove that Amazon’s monopoly grip is not as impregnable as in the states, leading to possible areas of entry for eCommerce platform startups.
Similarly, Norway’s online shopping trends show their own regional companies are doing far better than outside entrants. This is also the case for many smaller countries in Europe where local markets thrive over multinationals. Changing eCommerce platforms desired by consumers in these regions would require extensive effort.
Amazon is still at the top of eCommerce in France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, the UK, Austria, and Italy. In this sense, it has captured many of the wealthiest countries. However, regions like Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, and most of Eastern Europe have alternative platforms.
It is worth noting that regionalization and Amazon’s pan-European strategy play a part in how the company ingratiates itself to the markets it is dominating.
Top Enterprise eCommerce Platforms in Europe
On the B2B side, we have enterprise eCommerce platforms that businesses can use to bolster their webshops. Platforms like Shopify are the most popular way of adding eCommerce to website applications. However, in Europe, the top platforms are:
- Drupal Commerce
Shopify shows up fairly low when taking the whole continent into account. This may be because features on certain platforms are more suitable to the needs of the continent. Enhanced eCommerce features on these platforms help make sense of complex markets like Europe. Platforms with insights are becoming more and more important, especially with rumours of Google Analytics being booted out of Europe due to the GDPR.
Consumer Trends Worth Noting
Western European regions have high numbers of digital nativity, with 95% of the population being regular Internet users. eCommerce sales account for 2.3 trillion in sales worldwide, with Europe’s most frequent users being college-age and young professionals. Similarly, online shoppers in regions like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway are nearing 95%. The number of shoppers across Europe as a whole has been rising every year:
Western Europe also had the highest number of frequent shoppers (more than 6 times within the last 3 months). This included Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands among others. Europe’s online grocery market is growing along with this increasing number of online shoppers, particularly in regions with an ageing population.
The number one reason among hesitant shoppers is that they like to shop in person. This is almost uniform across Europe, with consumers citing loyalty to stores, shopping experience, ability to see the product, and force of habit as the top reasons. Despite this, nearly every region in Europe has seen growth in online shoppers.
As one might expect, the number one search engine is Google, making it the most via online marketing resources. Google penetrates over 95% of most markets, especially major economic centres like Germany and the UK.
eCommerce Growth Europe
Various industries are experiencing growth across the continent in the past year. While the majority of goods ordered online are still clothes and entertainment products, there are niche markets that may be worth noting.
Food eCommerce trends indicate that, while food and beverage orders are less popular from eCommerce stores, fast-food and restaurant orders are more prominent. Fast food apps are increasingly desirable as an option since the pandemic. Aside from these apps, there has been a growth in exotic and speciality food markets to order from online.
Medical eCommerce and consumer electronics eCommerce trends show growth in both industries from the previous year. Cosmetics and computer goods have increased in previous years but media products and clothes are still the number one eCommerce products.
The eCommerce medical supplies market is uncertain in terms of its future. Some reports predict growth in medical sales, while others are bracing for a decline. Another issue is that people are less likely to order crucial drugs online as they may not trust the seller.
eCommerce packaging trends indicate that more and more consumers across Europe and the world are calling for biodegradable options. Paper packaging is increasingly popular among younger consumers. This is part of a larger interest in sustainability and more eco-friendly processes.
Digital Marketing Strategy Tips For Regions with High eCommerce Competition
Areas that have a large infiltration from local monopolies or multinationals like Amazon are hard to crack. However, these areas also have a proclivity towards niche markets, such as those catered to by companies like Idealo (travel) and Cool Blue (consumer electronics).
The best strategy to follow in high-competition regions is a form of connective eCommerce with a focus on local SEO. Localization can be very helpful and long-tail keywords that pertain to products and their substitutes can help push searches in your direction. Price is a major factor in consumer choice.
As a start-up, eCommerce companies should be prepared to take losses in their first few years, just as Amazon did. Marketing should aim towards the college-age and young professionals demographics. Europe’s eCommerce market is growing and not prone to brand loyalty, so there is room for startups.
Major spending days include Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but this can vary from region to region. Here are a few of the biggest days for eCommerce spending and marketing:
|The United Kingdom||Black Friday (November 25)|
|France||Black Friday (November 25)|
|The Netherlands||December 12|
|Sweden||Black Friday (November 25)|
|Denmark||Black Friday (November 25)|
|Finland||Black Friday (November 25)|
|Norway||Black Friday (November 25)|
Marketing can target a whole host of different devices and locations. 43% of online customers have made purchases while in bed, 23% have done so at work, and 20% while in the bathroom, toilet, or in a vehicle. This makes the time and place of advertising inconsequential as people are willing to purchase or receive deals anywhere.
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