On 8 July, Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce jointly launched the European Ecommerce Regional Report 2020. The report sets out the main facts and figures related to the e-commerce sector in Europe, with country-by-country and sectorial analyses, interviews with heads of leading national e-commerce associations and other valuable information for merchants, policymakers and other stakeholders. The main figures demonstrate that growth in e-commerce sales reached €636 billion in 2019, up by 14.2% from the previous year. European e-commerce turnover is forecast to grow at around 12.7% and to hit €717 billion in 2020.
The report is a key source of information for online merchants, as it will provide them with useful facts and figures about the European Single Market and specific domestic markets. Based on those figures, merchants can explore the perspective of a cross-border expansion of their business. Furthermore, the report will provide policy makers at the EU and national levels with in-depth insights about the evolution of e-commerce in Europe and its regulatory needs.
Impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce
The report provides some preliminary insights on the impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce even though the full impact of the pandemic on the sector will most likely only show next year. E-commerce has taken a prominent role during the crisis, helping shops without a prior online presence to continue their business in conditions of heavy lockdown measures, and allowing consumers safe access to products from their homes. Some sectors, such as food and IT equipment, saw a growth in their online sales, while others, such as fashion and online sales of tickets for events or tourism, experienced a significant decrease.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent acceleration of the digital transformation for both businesses and consumers, the facilitation of an omnichannel transition has become of prime importance to accommodate new ways of consuming that emerged during the pandemic. The implementation of solutions such as click-and-collect/drive increased the outreach of local commerce that moved online and the combination of sales channels necessary for a seamless shopping experience. Therefore, now more than ever, companies in Europe need the support of the European Union to be able to compete on an increasingly competitive global market.
Twin green and digital transitions
The report demonstrates that in many countries sustainable e-commerce has been high on the agenda of governments, associations and companies. Given the EU’s focus on the digital and green transitions in the COVID-19 recovery plans, e-commerce becomes an essential player with the capacity to accelerate the digital transition in a more sustainable and green way. Sustainable solutions such as reductions of packaging waste, last mile delivery optimization and the use of green delivery vehicles, are already being developed by the e-commerce industry.
Remaining regulatory barriers
The Coronavirus crisis has also strengthened the need to alleviate unnecessary regulatory barriers for merchants. The amount of legal fragmentation across EU Member States creates significant obstacles for businesses selling cross-border online. Therefore, Ecommerce Europe will continue advocating for simpler and more harmonized European rules and better enforcement.
Ecommerce Europe would like to thank the research institute RetailX for preparing and finalizing this report and all the sponsors for their support.
To obtain the full version of the report, please visit this website.