Dutch cross-border purchases slow down

October 27, 2021 by
Sanne Leenders

In the second quarter of 2021, Dutch consumers spent more than €800 million at foreign online stores. This is almost 17% more than in the same period a year earlier. The turnover of e-commerce sellers in the Netherlands showed comparable growth. Growth was considerably lower for both European and Dutch internet sellers than in previous quarters.

Since 2014, consumers in the Netherlands have spent more each quarter at European online stores than in the same period a year earlier. Particularly since the outbreak of COVID-19, these expenditures have risen sharply. In 2020, quarterly growth peaked at over 38%. In the first three months of 2021, a record growth of almost 64% was achieved. After a full year of COVID-19, growth in the second quarter of 2021 was for the first time comparable to the years prior to the crisis.

The figures relate to online purchases by Dutch consumers from companies established outside the Netherlands and within the EU, and exclude VAT. The difference between Dutch and foreign web shops is not always easy to see for a consumer. Web stores are often set up in various languages ​​and foreign web stores may have a Dutch version.

Decrease in Dutch internet sales growth

In the second quarter of 2021, the turnover of Dutch e-commerce sellers was more than 16% higher than in the same period a year earlier. This percentage is also significantly lower than in previous quarters during COVID-19. In the first quarter of 2021, there was a record growth of almost 85%. The turnover of Dutch internet sellers includes sales to both Dutch and foreign consumers.

With regard to Dutch internet sellers, a distinction can be made between pure web shops and multichannel retailers. Pure online stores will generate approximately 15% more turnover in the second quarter of 2021. While the online turnover of multichannel retailers was more than 18% higher than a year earlier. Multichannel retailers saw their internet turnover rise sharply since COVID-19. In the first quarter of 2021, online sales were even more than twice as high as a year earlier.

Limited turnover share of European webshops

Although purchases by the Dutch from European web stores have increased sharply over the years, the effect of this on consumer spending is limited. These purchases form a relatively small part of all consumer spending. In 2019, online purchases accounted for no more than 2% of total Dutch retail sales. In the second quarter of 2021, the total turnover (store, internet and market turnover) of the retail trade in the Netherlands was approximately 8% higher than in the second quarter of 2020.

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