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We have our fingers on the pulse of global retail


17 December 2015

Today, as part of our 2015 round-up on the state of international ecommerce, we are focusing on the well-established etail markets of Europe, with a particular spotlight on the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.


Although Europe is one of the world’s most saturated ecommerce markets, there is still huge potential to capitalise on the highly engaged and savvy European online shoppers.

As with previous years, the ecommerce market in Europe is expected to post a strong growth rate of 18.4% by the end of 2015, meaning it will be worth more than €185bn.

Interestingly, the European online industry is set to grow faster than the US ecommerce market this year, where the projected annual growth rate is expected to be around 14%. Indeed, the average online spend by European e-shoppers is also expected to increase to €970, while last year this amount was €874.

2015 ecommerce in the UK

In 2015, the UK led the way in European ecommerce growth, with Brits being the most frequent online shoppers across the continent.

So, it’s no surprise that by the end of the year, online retail sales in the UK are set to grow by 16.2%, reaching £52.25bn compared to £44.97bn in 2014.

In terms of online spend per shopper, the UK is ahead of both US and overall European figures, with British online shoppers splashing out an average of £1,174 online over the past year.

As with the rest of the world, the rapidly growing use of mobile devices will increasingly shape the ecommerce landscape in the country, with mobile sales having reached £14.95bn this year, almost doubling from £8.41bn in 2014.

2015 ecommerce in Germany

Together with the UK, Germany is among the strongest European ecommerce markets, projected to reach another milestone this year – the highest annual online growth rate in Europe of 23.1%.

Following this projection, the German ecommerce industry is expected to increase by €4.3bn by the end of 2015, when it will be worth €46.3bn.

Although the fashion industry plays a pivot role in the country’s ecommerce revenues, with some of Europe’s most successful online fashion retailers headquartered in Germany, fast moving consumer goods have also significantly stimulated the local ecommerce industry over the past year.

2015 ecommerce in France

At the end of 2015, France continues to hold its firm position of being the third largest online market in Europe, after the UK and Germany, and the sixth biggest ecommerce industry worldwide!

Thanks to the growing number of online offers, the arrival of new shoppers and the stable rise in the number of ecommerce transactions, online retail sales in France are set to reach €36.53bn by the end of the year – a 10% increase on the year before.

With eight out of the top15 online stores in France being traditional retailers, multi-channel commerce has become immensely popular in 2015 and is expected to increasingly shape the online market in the country throughout the New Year.

2015 ecommerce in Italy

Following a 16% increase in 2014, the ecommerce industry in Italy is expected to grow another 15% by the end of 2015, which will put online sales at more than €15bn.

As expected, fashion is one of the product verticals that posted the highest online growth sales this year. With a projected 23% increase by the end of 2015, this online category currently ranks second after computers.

With ecommerce sales from smartphones and tablets set to increase by 68% by the end of 2015, mobile has been the key driver of the Italian online industry this past year and will increasingly reveal the country’s online potential in the New Year, as well.

2015 ecommerce in Spain

With an online turnover of over €14bn and more than 60% of the population shopping online, at the end of 2015, Spain is the largest ecommerce market in the Southern European region, ahead of Italy and Turkey.

Interestingly, cross-border trade has been the driving force behind the country’s ecommerce growth this year, with more than 63% of Spanish e-shoppers having bought from foreign online stores. In certain sectors, such as fashion, cross-border sales accounted for over half of the online transactions Spaniards completed in 2015.

With Spain having posted a strong economic growth over the past two years, and consumer spending continuously increasing, the ecommerce industry in the country is expected to further grow in the New Year, reaching €30bn.


Throughout 2016, Europe will continue to offer appealing opportunities to online retailers, with the ecommerce industry across the western region projected to increase by 18.7% and reach the staggering €219bn.

Mobile commerce, cross-border trade and multi-channel presence are the three main trends that are expected to prevail the European ecommerce landscape in 2016.

So, retailers that want to seize the opportunities that the mature ecommerce market of Europe still has to offer, need to focus on such key activities, as providing mobile responsive store designs, professional localisation and smooth omni-channel shopping experience.

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