On 5 December 2022, Ecommerce Europe celebrated its 10th anniversary. Members, policymakers, partners, academia and institutional speakers joined us to mark this important milestone and to discuss the evolution of e-commerce over the last 10 years as well as future trends.
As Ecommerce Europe’s President Wijnand Jongen reminded in his opening statement, “e-commerce as we know it today has been shaped by a decades-long of history”, from the digital transformation of retail and mail-order companies to the early days of lobbying the EU institutions to adapt the rules to this new reality, different from traditional retail business. We have come quite a long way from the first e-commerce transaction, which is apparently attributed to a CD sold on 11 August 1994 in Philadelphia, for approximately $12 plus shipping costs. Since then, e-commerce has grown and connected more and more people to each other or with businesses across the globe. In the last decades, new technologies also came to life, as well as new players from outside Europe and evolving consumer behaviours.
The constant growth of the e-commerce sector over the past decade was also confirmed by Sara Lone, Lead Research Analyst at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences She provided key insights from the past research reports the are commissioned each year by Ecommerce Europe. We also looked at the sector from an institutional and legislative perspective, since Marita Ljunggren, from the Swedish Permanent Representation to the European Union, provided a general overview of the priority files of the upcoming Swedish Presidency of the Council, which will kick off on 1 January 2023. Among the priorities relevant for the sector, the Presidency will focus on strengthening European competitiveness, deepening the single market and digital single market, and of course the green transition. The incoming Presidency is eager to follow up on ongoing files, such as the Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation and the recently proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.
Ecommerce Europe’s Secretary General closed the event with a look at what we believe will be the future of (digital) commerce. Without any doubt, the pandemic has greatly accelerated the digital transformation of both businesses and consumers, and Ecommerce Europe is convinced that the future of commerce can only be omnichannel. That is why we need channel-neutral legislation and must go beyond the old-fashioned distinction of “online vs. offline”. The future of the sector will also be sustainable. Sustainability is a priority for the EU, but also a priority for more and more companies and consumers, both increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment, and trying to reduce it. Finally, the future of commerce will be data-driven and AI-based. So, we need to make sure that EU legislation strikes the right balance between allowing business innovation to provide a seamless shopping experience to consumers and protect them at the same time.
Together with our guests, we also shared our common priorities for the future of the sector and of our organisation, with the strong ambition to continue growing. To read more about our key priorities, please read our Priority Paper 2023.
Let’s continue to grow together!