European B2C e-commerce turnover forecast to reach the €500 billion mark this year

July 11, 2016 by
Janine Nothlichs

The Ecommerce Foundation and Ecommerce Europe launched the latest European BC2 E-commerce Report during the Global E-commerce Summit at the end of May 2016. The e-commerce turnover grew by double digits to €455.3 billion, with a growth rate of 13.3% in 2015, according to the report. This year, the European B2C e-commerce turnover will keep increasing and is forecast to reach the €500 billion mark.

With around 296 million e-shoppers in Europe, each spending an average of €1,540 online last year, the report provides a promising outlook for the e-commerce industry. And there is still more than enough room for further growth. “Today, only 43% of the European population of 15 years and older shop online, and 16% of them buy in another country. Moreover, 16% of SMEs sell online and less than half of them sell online across borders (7.5%). The full potential of the European e-commerce market has not yet been reached”, said Marlene ten Ham, Ecommerce Europe’s Secretary General, during the Summit.

Where does Europe stand?
The impact of B2C e-commerce on the European economy has been increasing in the past years and its growth is expected to continue in the years to come resulting in European e-commerce sales of €510bn in 2016, €598bn in 2017 and €660bn in 2018. The United Kingdom, France and Germany are clearly the front runners in terms of B2C e-commerce in Europe as they account for more than 60% of all online turnover. The United Kingdom is leading when it comes to the size of their B2C e-commerce market (€157.1 billion) and the average spending per e-shopper (€3,625). However, in terms of the number of e-shoppers, the Germans have a greater market presence than their British counterparts (51.6 million vs. 43.4 million). It is perhaps surprising that none of these e-commerce power houses features in the top 10 of fastest-growing B2C e-commerce markets. Ukraine is at the top of the list (with a growth of 35% compared to 2014), closely followed by Turkey (34.9%) and Belgium (34.2%).

Still, there are still several barriers to overcome in order to unlock the full potential of the e-commerce sector in Europe according to the recently published Cross-border E-commerce Barometer 2016. The three main challenges for merchants striving to expand their business cross-border are legal fragmentation, taxation issues (VAT) and logistics/distribution. This is why Ecommerce Europe’s mission is to stimulate cross-border e-commerce through lobbying for better or desired policy by calling among others for simplified and more harmonized consumer rules, improved and innovative online payment systems, as well as open standards and more efficiency in parcel delivery.

European e-commerce facts and figures can be freely downloaded through the light version of the European B2C E-commerce Report and free infographics. The full report can also be ordered through the EcommerceWiki website.

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