E-commerce in Europe has grown during the year. The average sales per person per month amounts to EUR 161 in the countries surveyed. More people are choosing to make

larger e-commerce purchases compared to before the pandemic and are buying a wider range of different product categories according to PostNord’s “E-commerce

in Europe report 2021”

Germany and the UK are Europe’s strongest e-commerce markets

As in previous years, Germany and the UK are the strongest e-com­merce markets in Europe. Both markets have relatively high pur­chase amounts and a high e-com­merce share combined with a large population. The survey shows that 62 million consumers in Germany have shopped online in the last year, while the corresponding figure for the UK is 49 million.

At the other end of the scale, countries like Poland, Spain and Italy have relatively low average purchas­es. Finland also has a lower figure than before, but this could be a tem­porary effect during the pandemic.

The rest of the Nordic regions see both highs and lows, and the estimated average spend per person per year in Europe is highest in Denmark by EUR 2 916 followed by Norway by EUR 2 364 whereas Finland “only” has EUR 1 392 and Sweden in the middle on EUR 1 932.


E-commerce in Europe 2021

Will growth continue after the pandemic?

The number of e-commerce con­sumers in Europe has grown steadily in recent years. From 286 million in 2019 to 293 million consumers in 2020 to 297 million in 2021. One important reason, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic, which has left its mark on all European countries. At the same time, the trend was already underway before the pandemic, with growing e-commerce and an ambitious roll-out of digital infra­structure in many parts of Europe.

In 2020, several markets showed growth rates of over 40 percent. This his­toric growth rate was, of course, driven large­ly by the pandemic. However, purchases from foreign websites declined marginally compared to last year’s report, due to delivery problems and societies being shut down. But these are expected to increase gradually as pandem­ic-related disruptions diminish in scope.

A very interesting topic is the varying payment preferences in Europe

European countries demonstrate a wide range of payment prefer­ences. In some cases, there are local payment solutions that occupy a very strong position, such as the high 57% market share via mobile apps in the Netherlands and 31% in Sweden versus United Kingdom at 0% for Invoice.

E-commerce in Europe 2021

Some take aways regarding the Nordic Countries

  • Sweden: New VAT rules benefit Swedish online retailers!

Comment: “– We celebrate the circular and offer a modern, alternative shopping experience, backed by rational arguments such as environmental benefit, price, choice and convenience.” Chantal Olsson, Brand Manager Tradera

  • Denmark: e-commerce was a saviour during the pandemic!
    Comment: “– As many as 88% of Danes in the survey state they have purchased products online.”
  • Finland: Finnish e-commerce picks up during the pandemic!
    Comment: “– During the coronavirus pandemic, the share of e-commerce has increased in Finland.”
  • Norway: Changed VAT rules and increased duty-free access!
    Comment: “– The coronavirus has reinforced and accelerated trends that we’ve been seeing for a long time. Demand for our services is exceptionally strong, both in Norway and internationally.” Vegard Vik, co-founder and CFO at Oda

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About the PostNord report

PostNord has studied the European e-commerce market in the E-commerce in Europe report since 2014. The report is based on interviews with a total of about 12,000 consumers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK. So, when the report talks about Europe, these are the countries being referred to, unless otherwise specified. The interviews were conducted with representative nationwide samples of private individuals aged 15–79 years.

Download the full report.

PostNord is a leader in parcels and logistics services to, from, and within the Nordic region.

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