3.3 B2C: Europe

Marketing Charts {1} reported that B2B ecommerce sales totaled 106 billion euros ($133 billion) in 2006 and would grow at an annual growth rate of 25% over the next 5 years, tripling in amount to reach nearly 323 billion euros ($407 billion) in 2011.

Actinic's second quarterly UK online sales survey {2} found an 18% increase in revenue in the three months to 30 September 2010 when compared to 2009, but also that e-retailers were having to work hard in a challenging and competitive environment in the run-up to the crucial Christmas period. In the over 200 small and medium businesses selling online surveyed, the average quantity of orders processed by each etailer increased 13% during the third quarter when compared to the same period the previous year. Nick Kington, managing director at Actinic added, 'These growth figures indicate that online sellers in the SME sector are faring well against poor high street sales.' eBay {3} suggested that small businesses had a significant role to play in driving UK ecommerce. Of the 127 businesses projected to reach a £1m turnover, the average rise in sales was estimated to exceed £600,000 per business. Twenty five of those were projected to achieve a rise in revenue of 100% or more over the year, while 14 would rise over 200%, and 11 over 300%. Despite austerity measures, UK ecommerce sales had grown 16% year on year by September 2012. {8}

Bolstered by mobile use, ecommerce continues to thrive, growing by 14% in 2011. Some 21% of retailers will soon launch m-commerce features, while 17% of 15-34 year olds already make mobile purchases. Payments preferences were for credit and debit cards (42%) followed by online bank transfers, invoice and micropayment services. Cards are especially popular in Denmark, while Finns tend to prefer Internet bank transfers. Travel-related ecommerce is the largest segment (25%), followed by household goods (13%) and electronics (12%). {4}

The UK dominates western Europe's ecommerce landscape, accounting for over half of annual sales, but France, Germany, Italy and Spain are increasingly vital markets. eMarketer estimates that 2013 would see combined online sales in these countries reach $121.5 billion, and for the first time overtake the UK total. By 2015, spending across the region would reach $343.5 billion, with 58.2% of the total, or $199.9 billion, coming from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. {5} Russia also looks more promising. Though the 2013 economy may see 6.5% inflation and economic growth at only 3.9% {9}, ecommerce may triple in the next three years, from $12 billion in 2012 to $36 billion by 2015. {10}

The 2011 use of online shopping in CEE countries was: {5}

Country

Percentage of online population

in the country

Czech Republic

53.6%

Slovakia

48.0%

Slovenia

47.8%

Estonia

40.8%

Romania

37.2%

Lithuania

35.8%

Latvia

35.1%

Hungary

28.4%

Croatia

19.9%

Russia

19.8%

Serbia

16.0%

Bosnia-Herzegovina

11.8%

Turkey

10.0%

Ukraine

8.5%

Kazakhstan

6.9%

The online retail market in Europe was worth €200.52 bn in 2011, up from �169.63 bn in 2010. {6} Three countries, UK, Germany and France, accounted for 71% of sales. Some details:

Country

Share of

2011 Retail

Trade

2011-2 Increase

in Online Sales

2012 Share of

Total Retail

UK

12.0%

14.0%

13.2%

Germany

9.0%

13.0%

10.0%

Switzerland

8.7%

16.0%

9.9%

Denmark

8.0%

14.0%

9.1%

Norway

8.1%

17.0%

9.1%

France

7.3%

22.0%

8.7%

Sweden

6.9%

18.0%

8.0%

Benelux

5.1%

14.0%

5.7%

Spain

3.5%

16.0%

4.1%

Poland

3.1%

24.0%

3.8%

Italy

1.3%

18.0%

1.6%

European 2012 online sales were forecast by CRR to grow by 16.1% to €232.76 bn. Ecommerce Europe estimated the number of B2C websites to have grown to 550,000 by the end of 2012, increasing at 15-20% per year and set to grow even more in the upcoming markets in southern and eastern Europe. {11} The broad figures for 2012 Europe were: 820 mn inhabitants, 529 mn Internet users and 250 mn e-shoppers. Of the last, the breakdown was: UK 96.2 mn, Germany 50 mn, France 45 mn, Spain 13 mn and Russia 10.3 mn e-shoppers. {11}

New Media's Trend Watch has useful breakdowns for European Internet access, weekly use, online shopping, retail and ecommerce sales, and much else. {7}

Sources and Further Reading

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