Europe's 6 Most Promising eCommerce Markets

When you are offering an online product or service it might be very profitable for you to extend your business to other geographical markets. We all know that eCommerce is one of the fastest growing industries across the globe, however great differences in its development exist between countries and regions.

To help you decide to which markets to expand your business to, we’ve developed a series of articles to highlight some of the most interesting countries when it comes to eCommerce. This first post covers the most interesting markets in Europe, which we used for our own recent expansions.

eCommerce prospects in Europe look very bright. This is a highly diverse market with great opportunities, especially from eastern countries which are awakening with double digit growth for the past recent years. According to Asendia , Norwegians and Swedes are still on top of European Countries with highest eCommerce rate regarding the amount of users (76% and 74% respectively). However, in eCommerce projections a decrease in the growth rate is predicted due to maturation and increasing popularity of cross border shopping among European consumers. According to information gathered from the Western and Central Europe B2C eCommerce Report 2013, cross border eCommerce seems very attractive as increases are expected in the range of 20% by 2015.

Let’s go through some of the most interesting markets you should look for:

eCommerce Absolute market size: $ 118 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: $ 869,00
eCommerce growth projections: 9,5 %

Market specifics: United Kingdom is Western Europe’s eCommerce trade main stage. This is a mature market where Mobile Commerce is rapidly gaining prominence among consumers who expect nothing but the best (regarding product quality and efficiency in your customer service). Expanding to UK might be a door opener for later entries into countries such as US and Australia. Parmy Olson developed an interesting listing which may help you further understand the reasons which make Britain an attractive market for you to expand to starting by the decrease in imposed barriers to the rise of seedcamp and government support to launch your business.

eCommerce Absolute market size: $ 69,8 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: $ 859,58
eCommerce growth projections: 7,3 %

Market specifics: Germany is one of the most interesting mature markets for eCommerce trade in Europe. Similarly to the UK, consumer trust is highly relevant for industry growth and thus successful online business in Germany require secure payment options and should be backed up with good delivery services and sophisticated transparent customer service. Some of the downturns you should be aware of are the language barrier, the demanding legal and tax bureaucracy and the strict privacy laws. Expatica : “With German law making no distinction between Germans and foreigners in the establishment of companies and no restrictions on the repatriation of profits, nothing stands in the way of ambitious expatriate entrepreneurs with a little capital.”

eCommerce Absolute market size: $ 70,8 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: $ 1050
eCommerce growth projections: 7,95 %

Market specifics: France is one of the biggest eCommerce markets in the world. French customers appreciate to buy online preferably using credit cards as chosen payment method. The most promising market for online sales in France is travel and tourism followed by digital media and consumer electronics. One of the biggest downturns of the french market is the consumer’s high loyalty to national or local products which might jeopardize expansion opportunities. “Positioned at the heart of the world’s largest market, France offers a favorable economic environment to potential exporters.”

eCommerce Absolute market size: $ 17,9 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: $ 383,3
eCommerce growth projections: 15,6 %

Market specifics: Spanish eCommerce and especially mCommerce is increasing at surprising evergrowing rates. Focused on mCommerce, due to its smartphone penetration of 66% (highest in Europe), this market is urging for mature businesses providing differentiated products to demanding consumers. Even though Spain just came out of a huge financial crisis its eCommerce sector seems pumping and juicy. : “Spain is also ranked by the EIU as the least expensive of the EU countries studied for doing business. In particular, Spain has low cost labour and transport, and the introduction of the single European market has eliminated exchange rate fluctuations and reduced overall transaction costs.”

eCommerce Absolute market size: $ 8,18 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: $ 213,57
eCommerce growth projections: 23 %

Market specifics: Poland is the growth leader for eCommerce trade in central European region. Even though this is an early market, opportunities for development and product extensions to this territory might be an interesting thought for close european companies. The main downturns regarding Poland as an expansion country for your business are still some infrastructure problems and consumer’s preferential manual payment methods such as bank transfers and invoicing.

eCommerce Absolute market size: $ 15,5 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: $ 251,22
eCommerce growth projections: 16 %

Market specifics: Italy, side-by-side with Spain is emerging as a relevant eCommerce market featuring many opportunities for foreign investors. However, unlike Spain, mCommerce is still not developed and consumers have low trust on mobile shopping systems. A curious fact is that for italians the most important factor to guarantee eCommerce success, above security, is easy logistics followed by customer care.

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