Fashion, financial, and food sectors boost e-commerce in Spain

February 24, 2022 by
Frank Calviño
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

E-commerce in Spain grew 13.7% (year-on-year) to €13,661 million in the second quarter of 2021, according to the CNMCData portal. Much of this growth during the past 2021 was done by two main sectors: fashion and finance, in particular the financial intermediation services for e-commerce. 

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Alongside these two main sectors, there is a third rising power, the e-commerce food industry. Online supermarkets have grown massively in Spain in the past 2021 and could become a major future sector in the Spanish e-commerce booming market. 

That's why today, we want to make a quick review of the food, financial, and fashion e-commerce markets in Spain. But first, let us begin by reviewing how Spanish e-commerce has behaved in the past two years, to better understand the impact generated by these two sectors. 

The growth of e-commerce in Spain  

In 2020 Spanish e-commerce grew by more than 20% with the fashion and electronics sectors at the forefront of developments. This trend continued in 2021 - a very complex year in Spain due to the pandemic restrictions -  with Spanish e-commerce yielding a turnover increase of 13.7% - year-on-year - in the second quarter of 2021.

All in all, in 10 years, e-commerce increased from 0.7% to 7.4% of total sales in Spain, according to CNMCData. Yet it is worth noting that the net balance - the difference between what is bought from abroad to Spain and what is bought from Spain to abroad - shows a deficit of 6,892 million euros. By a number of transactions, 30.9% of purchases and sales are destined for Spain and 69.1% abroad. Meaning that still, the Spanish e-commerce market is an export market, fundamentally, although a constant growth in the revenues within Spain, could change this in the near future. 

 ????Another key figure to accurately predict the future of e-commerce in Spain is the fact that e-commerce revenues within Spain - sales and operations done inside Spain - increased by 14.5% year-on-year to a grand total of 4,372 million euros at the end of 2021????

So, without any doubt, Spain is fully embracing e-commerce. But certainly, not all sectors are growing the same. 

Fashion e-commerce shows a historical increase 

The second most powerful force behind Spanish e-commerce growth at this moment is the Spanish fashion industry. Something we can confirm just by looking at the two biggest e-commerce sites in Spain, according to sales: 

The biggest player in the Spanish eCommerce Market is with a revenue of US$4.6 billion in 2021. And  It is followed by Aliexpress, with a still to be defined total revenue - their numbers for 2021 has not been released to the public - and in third place is with US$2.2 billion revenue. Together, they account for over 20% of the entire global e-commerce revenues of Spain. 

 ????It is interesting to compare the current number to those achieved during 2020. For example,  looking back at the third quarter of 2020, the value of online fashion sales in Spain was about 3.7 billion euros. This figure has been growing steadily in recent years, from 444 million euros in 2012 to almost 3.8 billion in 2019. In addition, revenue from apparel e-commerce rose to approximately 4.3 billion euros in 2020. ????

According to ecommerceDB numbers, Fashion is the largest segment in Spain and accounts for 27% of the e-commerce revenue in Spain. This is followed by Electronics & Media with 25%, Food & Personal Care with 19%, Toys, Hobby & DIY with 17%, and Furniture & Appliances with the remaining 11%.

The massive growth in the fashion e-commerce sector in Spain is also confirmed by Kantar, who claims that online sales in the fashion sector accounted for 7.4% of the total fashion sales in Spain last year, compared to 5.9% the previous year, the biggest historical increase so far. In 2012 it was only 1.4%, highlighting the importance of e-commerce for this sector and its future growth.

Auxiliary financial services for e-commerce

The financial services for e-commerce, both bank services and non-bank services - and those considered auxiliary services also - have been steadily growing in Spain in the last 2 years. 

????And in 2021, the auxiliary services to financial intermediation grew into a total of 6.3% of the entire turnover of the Spanish e-commerce market. ????

In 2021 also, in terms of the number of transactions, the CNMC recorded more than 279 million operations, a year-on-year increase of 14.5%, and department stores were the leaders in sales and purchases, with 8.4% of the total. 

Feeding the future of e-commerce in Spain 

Finally, the Spanish e-commerce food sector is something to keep close track of if we aim at understanding and predicting the evolution of the Spanish e-commerce market. According to XChannel data, in 2021 the e-commerce food sector grew by 175% in comparison with 2020. And three are the main players of this booming industry: 

  1. Mercadona is Spain's number one food sector e-commerce, with online sales amounting to €469.871.314  a 1.7% of Mercadona’s total turnover of €27.000 million. And even when it might not seem as much - at least in comparison with what the massive supermarket chain produces in its nationwide physical stores - it is still more than enough to place them in the first position of the rising e-commerce food sector in Spain. 
  1. Dia is second, with a total online sales volume that reached €427.946.917 and with a clear focus on e-commerce, expressed by its decision of closing 14 physical stores to concentrate its efforts on improving online service, the company bets its future on its online store.
  1. Consum is third, with a total online sales volume of 243.411.881€. And it currently holds the position against a rising Carrefour, that many predict, could easily surpass them at the end of 2022. 

It seems pretty evident that both the fashion and food sectors will continue to grow in the Spanish e-commerce market, at least during 2022. Demonstrating again that consumption patterns, modified by Covid, have been structural changes that will dictate the future of global trade.

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