E-commerce in Europe is growing by EUR 9 billion

Europeans are increasingly shopping online. In the past year, 253 million European consumers bought online to a total value of EUR 189 billion, EUR 9 billion more than the year before. 176 million consumers also bought online from abroad, an increase of 17 million in a year. These are the highlights from an annual report from PostNord charting the e-buying habits and preferences of Europeans.*

As consumers are becoming more and more mature in their online buying behavior, their demands are increasing – especially in terms of delivery.

“The consumers of today want a range of options and constantly updated information on delivery status. This has made delivery into an important issue in creating value for online businesses and carriers, and it’s important to both listen to and understand consumers’ wishes. It’s absolutely vital to be able to offer customers locally-adapted and seamless delivery arrangements,” says Karin Falkentoft, Managing Director of Direct Link Worldwide United Kingdom, a PostNord company offering borderless e-Commerce solutions and global distribution.

Differences in Europe

There are clear differences in how European consumers want their orders delivered. Home delivery is big in many European countries, but in Germany, the Nordics and France, mailbox deliveries by the mail carrier are the main preference. Delivery to a collection point is relatively unusual in most European countries, but to consumers in the Nordic region and France it is the second most-popular delivery method.

Expectations of fast deliveries in 1-2 days are rising in most markets. The Dutch are the most impatient – in the Netherlands, nearly four out of ten people want their orders delivered in two days max. Nordic citizens are the most patient. They are prepared to wait for up to all of six days or more, even if the majority expect delivery within 3-5 days, just as in every other market.

Shopping from abroad is increasing

The proportion of people who have shopped online from abroad is rising steadily in all markets. The keenest of all on buying from abroad are shoppers in the Nordics, followed by UK and Belgian consumers. The biggest increase from last year was recorded in Poland, with all of 12 percentage points. The UK and Germany are the most popular countries to buy online from. Of the non-European countries, China is the showing strongest growth.

“In practically every market, it’s the quest for lower prices that’s driving consumers to buy from other countries. Other reasons why people buy abroad include access to a wider choice or the ability to find products that aren’t available in their own country,” says Karin Falkentoft.

Locally-adapted payment systems are important

How people want to pay for their online-bought goods varies from country to country and so locally-adapted payment systems are an important key to success for e-commerce businesses.

Italian and Spanish customers prefer to use PayPal or similar services, which are also popular among UK and French buyers – whose favorite choice however is to pay using a debit or credit card. In Germany and the Nordic region, a popular option is to pay via invoice, while in Poland, Spain and Italy people also want to be able to pay cash on delivery.

* Since 2014 PostNord, has been conducting surveys of the European e-commerce market under the title E-commerce in Europe. The report is based on interviews with more than 12,000 consumers, selected in each country to form representative samples of private individuals in the age range 15–79. The interviews were held in spring 2016 in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The survey was conducted by the research company Nepa. The number of respondents varies somewhat between the countries. In most countries, around 1,200 people responded. The Nordics are an exception, where the countries are reported as one cohesive region. The number of respondents totaled about 600 per country.


For additional information, please contact:

PostNord Media Relations, +46-10-436 10 10, press@postnord.com

Last updated: 10/27/2016 4:33 PM