In 2020, Dutch consumers spent a record amount of nearly €2.6 billion at foreign web stores within the European Union. This is 600 million more than in 2019, an increase of almost 32%. Since the start of the current measurement method in 2014, the annual spending of the Dutch at European web shops has never increased so much before. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands on the basis of current research.
In 2014, the Dutch spent less than €700 million at European web shops outside the Netherlands, which has almost quadrupled in seven years. Compared to the same period in 2019, purchases increased strongly. Especially in the last three quarters of 2020, with increases of 30 to 38%. In the first quarter of 2020, Dutch consumption at European web stores rose less rapidly, by 18%. Just before the transition to the second quarter, the Netherlands was confronted with the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting measures.
Turnover of Dutch web shops also increased
The turnover of Dutch internet sellers has also increased sharply since the start of COVID-19. This includes sales to both Dutch and foreign consumers. Where the increase in turnover peaked by 22.1% in 2015 compared to the previous year, in 2020 online turnover increased by more than 40%.
For Dutch internet sellers, a distinction can be made between pure web shops and omnichannel players. The increase in Dutch internet sales in 2020 can mainly be attributed to omnichannel companies. Compared to 2019, turnover increased by more than half. In the fourth quarter of 2020 this was even almost three-quarters. The turnover of the pure web shops also increased sharply by almost 36%. In previous years, the largest increase here was less than 23%
Limited turnover share of European web shops
Although purchases by the Dutch from European web shops increased over the years, the effect on consumer spending is limited. This is because these purchases make up a relatively small portion of all consumer spending. In 2018, this concerned less than 2% of the total Dutch retail turnover. In 2020, the total turnover (store, internet and market turnover) of the retail trade in the Netherlands was 6% higher than in 2019.
The difference between Dutch and foreign web shops is not always clearly visible to consumers. Web shops are often formatted in several languages and foreign web shops can have a Dutch version of their website.