An insight into e-commerce in the world: part two. Western Europe
This article continues a series of surveys on current state of online retail markets worldwide as seen by independent industry reviewers. Previously we’ve looked into peculiarities of Asia-Pacific region. According to the statistics provided by yStats.com analytical portal, Europe is currently considered to be one of the largest online retail markets worldwide. It is also expected that the region will maintain this status through 2019 – according to the experts’ estimates, by this time Western Europe will be likely to account for nearly 25% of the global online retail market in terms of the number of transactions made. Two of the five countries showing the highest activity in the world in the field of online retail, namely the United Kingdom and Germany, are located in the region. Almost 50% of all the online sales made in Western Europe in 2015 can be attributed to the citizens of these two countries. Not only were they were characterized with the highest online shopper penetration rate last year, they were also named one of the most attractive destinations in the world for cross-border online shopping. France is currently the third Western Europe’s leading country in terms of online sales volume, and the country is also benefitting from an increasing shopper penetration rate. Along with the UK and Germany, France has an advanced and highly developed online retail market which is expected to witness moderate growth in the foreseeable future. Growth of cross-border online export volume is also registered in Italy and Spain. Analysts also expect a significant surge of online shopping activity on emerging e-commerce markets, such as Turkey and Poland. According to forecasts of the industry analysts, most of the e-commerce markets in Western Europe will see some impressive growth rates surpassing the equivalent parameter for offline retail markets. By 2015, some of the Western European online retail markets have achieved maturity, while others demonstrate a considerably high growth speed. All in all, Western European markets are known to have a high level of Internet and online shopper penetration which exceeds 90% of total number of Internet users for some countries. Most of the countries in the region bear a striking resemblance – for example, they are defined by the increasing importance of cross-border shopping, growth of mobile shopping, and rising significance of apparel as a product category. It has been revealed that clothing is the most popular item for Western European online shoppers – this product category was purchased by the highest share of the region’s online shoppers in 2015. It is worth mentioning that the competition on the online retail market of Western Europe remains quite intense – the most prominent and well-known players include both international and local companies. Even though Amazon has doubtlessly retained the status of the market leaders (the website tops the rankings of the most often visited online stores and the webstores with the biggest amount of sales), the experts unanimously agree that Chinese e-commerce websites, such as Alibaba and AliExpress are gaining an increasing popularity among Western European online shoppers.