In 2020, e-commerce within Europe has kept on growing. The total worth of European e-commerce grew to €757 billion last year. This is a 10% growth from €690 billion in 2019. There has been a steady increase in the number and share of online shoppers within Europe every year. The largest jump in the number of online shoppers was in 2020, due to COVID-19 pushing consumers to online shopping. The percentage of online shoppers was 71% in 2020. This percentage was just 66% in the year before.
Though e-commerce within Europe grew significantly (10%) the growth was smaller than in 2019 (14%). The sharp decline of online sales in tourism and the services sector due to COVID-19 contributed to holding back overall growth.
The pandemic has undoubtably had a massive impact on the retail sector. With lockdown regulations across the EU, there was a high rise in the number of online shops. Additionally, the economic shock of having to close physical stores was somewhat absorbed by the growth of e-commerce.
Luca Cassetti, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, commented: “The past year has exposed the importance of digital transformation. E-commerce has proven to be exceptionally well placed to facilitate the digitalisation of retail and create a seamless shopping experience for consumers. Physical stores opened up new online sales channels, SMEs have been able to access new markets through e-commerce, and merchants have increasingly adopted omnichannel commerce solutions, such as click-and-collect, to accommodate the ever-changing health requirements and consumer needs. However, the transition is not yet completed. Policymakers need to recognize the potential of digital commerce and invest more in new technologies and digital skills while creating a harmonised, channel-neutral and future-proof legislative framework”.
In 2020, Western Europe achieved the highest share of total European e-commerce turnover with 64%. Southern Europe holds 16% of the total turnover. In terms of growth, Eastern Europe shined in 2020 with a rate of 46%. Meanwhile Western Europe’s growth rate remained moderate at 4%. The growth rates of Central and Southern Europe were somewhat equal, 28 and 24% respectively.
Another important event in 2020 was Brexit. Though the UK has always been an economic powerhouse within European e-commerce, growth and progress in the remaining European countries’ digital markets have not stalled. In fact, 89% of the European population accessed the internet. Moreover, 73% shopped online (up from 68% in 2019).
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