E-commerce in Belgium: numbers and potential

15/05/2019

Belgian e-commerce market describes its acceleration stage. According to data consumer spending are growing steadily

 

Belgian e-commerce sector is growing. According to E-commerce Foundation, is the ninth biggest grower of e-commerce in Europe. From a merchant perspective, e-commerce data revealed 11.5 million people, out of a total population of 17.3 million, bought something via the internet in 2018. They spent 22.5 billion euros online in 2017 (+ 13%), representing 201.7 million online purchases (+ 17%). This results in an average online spend of 1.957 euros in 2018. While we are still waiting for exact numbers for 2018, they are forecast to hit 25 billion euros in online purchases (GfK).

 

© Chinese General Administration of Customs, China’s Ministry of Commerce. China-Belgium bilateral trade from 2012 to 2016.

 

Nowadays, Belgian e-commerce and consumer spending are growing steadily. According to data, in 2017, we experienced a first real increase in e-commerce penetration in four years. With a population of around 11.5 million people, data unveiled that 7.6 million Belgian consumers shopped online at least once, which represented 86.5 million purchases (an increase of 2% compared to 2016), and 10.05 billion euro (+ 11%). Based on these reports, Belgians spent on average 1.322 euros online.

But Belgium still has a huge untapped e-commerce potential.  Data shows us that the number of Belgian online merchants reached 20,000 in 2017, an increase of 26% compared to 2016. The striking thing about this is that just 4% of these online players are responsible for 89% of all revenue generated.

Thus, The Belgian e-commerce market describes its acceleration stage: a strong increase in new e-commerce consumers drives growth, but the total sales value and average ticket size are low. We are facing a move towards the so-called digital market shift stage where it is mainly the smaller merchant segment that seems to be showing a growth in number of webshops. Although 92% of independent merchants in Flanders have an online presence, only half of them (46%) are actually selling online.

 

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