Are you an e-commerce business owner with plans to expand internationally? Then, this article is for you. We'll look at how the e-commerce market works in four different European countries, and provide you with insider tips and insights.
The United Kingdom
A Large Market, Competitive Landscape
Let’s begin by stating something incredibly important: the UK is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world, and the fourth largest in Europe. Revenues in 2021 reached the staggering figure of $118 billion – a figure that is only expected to keep growing.
The UK e-commerce market is also very competitive, with the biggest player being Amazon.co.uk, swiftly followed by local providers including Tesco and Argos.
Anatomy of the UK Consumer and Their Shopping Preferences
The average UK consumer shows the features of a mass consumer who is driven by price and quality. Nonetheless, aspects such as sustainability and environmental impact are also becoming increasingly more crucial factors, as well as after-sales and customer service.
When it comes to what to buy, the majority of UK consumers (34%, to be more precise) opt for fashion items. Toys, DIY, and hobbies follow at around 19%, whereas electronics and media account for 18% of the total share, and furniture, food, and personal care for 15%.
Shipping Options and Choices in the UK
When it comes to shipping options, both businesses and consumers tend to prefer Royal Mail – the country’s mail delivery service. Royal Mail and its competitors – which include DHL, Hermes, and DPD – offer tracked, door-to-door delivery options which are consistently regarded as the preferred delivery methods by UK consumers.
How Can OGOship Support Your UK Business Expansion?
OGOship's team in the UK has extensive knowledge about the market. We have a great warehouse capacity in the UK, allowing merchants to reach the consumers cost-effectively and fast. By storing the goods in the UK, merchants can bypass most of the issues related to cross-border shipping, but it's worth keeping in mind that smooth cross-border sales do require some paperwork beforehand. Our e-commerce specialists are happy to discuss the requirements further with you.
Demanding, Aware, and Locally-Focused
With revenues of $109 billion in 2021, the German e-commerce market is the fifth largest market in Europe. Well-established, competitive, and ever-growing, this country’s e-commerce market is another great choice for digital-savvy businesses looking to expand their operations abroad.
Some of the main players in this fiercely competitive landscape include Amazon.de, Otto, and Real.de.
Anatomy of the German Consumer and Their Shopping Preferences
First of all, it’s interesting – and important – to highlight that the German online consumer encapsulates a variety of characteristics. For example, people of all ages shop online, in Germany – both Millennials and younger generations, as well as Baby Boomers and beyond.
What seems to be common across all these demographics is a certain preference for locally-sourced products that are sold at an appealing price point. It’s also worth mentioning that, although English is a widely-spoken language in the country, German consumers tend to prefer buying from e-commerce sites with localized content.
For this reason, it might be worth considering expanding to Austria, too, when in the process of trying to reach the German market. Austria, in fact, uses the same language and is also part of the European Union, just like Germany, which might enable foreign businesses to widen the scope of their expansion in a much easier way.
In terms of shopping habits, German online consumers are very fond of one category specifically: media and electronics. These products are so popular in the country that they represent the largest e-commerce segment – even ahead of fashion and food items.
Shipping Options and Choices in Germany
In Germany, the top shipping service provider is DHL. What is interesting about German consumers is that up to 35% of them want to choose exactly where and when to receive a delivery, whereas only 23% is focused on how fast their deliveries will be performed.
How Can OGOship Support Your German Business Expansion?
OGOship has multiple warehouses and a team of experienced e-commerce professionals in Germany. Don't hesitate to chat with our team if you are interested in the possibilities we can offer you within Germany. We know the customer expectations in the area and can help you meet the expectations.
Small But Mighty
It might seem strange to suggest expanding to The Netherlands, given that the country is only the 17th largest e-commerce market globally, with seemingly meagre revenues of $22 billion in 2021.
And while, of course, the country’s e-commerce landscape is smaller and less developed than its UK or German counterparts, it’s also full of great opportunities, and it is experiencing constant growth.
New e-commerce segments continue to emerge, while older ones become stronger as the years go by.
Within this exciting and promising scenario, some of the biggest players remain uncontested, including bol.com, ah.nl, and coolblue.nl.
Anatomy of the Dutch Consumer and Their Shopping Preferences
Just like German consumers, Dutch online shoppers are drawn to items that offer a good balance of price and quality. However, they tend to prefer quality over price, which means that they are more likely to compromise on buying something more expensive if it is also of better quality.
Unlike in Germany or the UK, Dutch consumers generally continue to buy food items in-store as opposed to online. The main e-commerce sector in The Netherlands, in fact, is fashion, which accounts for over 30% of the total market.
Other popular segments include media and electronics with 23%, toys, DIY, and hobbies with 19%, furniture and appliances with 15%, and food and personal care with just 12%.
Shipping Options and Choices in The Netherlands
The country’s main choice in terms of shipping provider is PostNL, with DHL and UPS following straight after.
How Can OGOship Support Your Dutch Business Expansion?
Our warehouse in the Netherlands is famous for its capability to cater to Central Europe with fast and reliable shipping. With this strategic location, you have quick access to all of BeNeLux, Germany, and Denmark. Our team in the Netherlands is happy to help with any questions you might have.
Ever-Growing, Promising, and Eco-Conscious
Even smaller but in continuous expansion, the Swedish e-commerce market recorded revenues of $16 billion in 2021. This places it at the 19th position globally in terms of size and profits.
However, the country’s e-commerce market’s growth of around 20% is a definite strong sign that points to a successful, and constant, growth of this market.
Just like in The Netherlands, the Swedish e-commerce market is composed of both old and more established players who compete with newly-emerged ones, catering to all sorts of online shoppers.
Some of the country’s biggest e-commerce players include netonnet.se, elgiganten.se, and apotekhjartat.se. Magasin.se is among the fastest-growing new online stores, with revenues of $9.7 million in 2021 – a whopping 230% increase compared to the previous year.
Anatomy of the Swedish Consumer and Their Shopping Preferences
Price and quality remain vastly important factors that determine the shopping preferences of Swedish consumers, together with the know-how of an online retailer and their after-sales service.
In general, Swedish consumers also like to do a certain amount of online research before their online shopping trips, which helps them compare products, reviews, and prices.
The largest e-commerce segment in the country is represented by fashion items (31%), followed by media and electronics (23%), toys, DIY, and hobbies (18%), furniture and appliances (15%), and food and personal care (12%).
Shipping Options and Choices in Sweden
In Sweden, consumers and businesses mostly rely on PostNord when it comes to shipping services. Budbee Home Delivery and DHL are also used, although at much less significant rates compared to the giant PostNord.
How Can OGOship Support Your Swedish Business Expansion?
Sweden is one of OGOship's traditional footholds, and our dedicated Swedish team is genuinely passionate about what they do. The team is ready to take all the steps necessary to make your e-commerce expansion to – or from – Sweden happen.
Expanding a business to international markets is no easy feat. Before planning an international expansion, it’s vital to consider factors such as the size and maturity of the local e-commerce market, the consumers’ preferences, and the available shipping options.OGOship offers all the market-specific knowledge that your business needs to complete a successful international expansion.
- Contact our team today for more information on how we can assist you.
- If you feel like you want to deep dive into the topic even further, check out our guide to international expansion for e-commerce businesses.