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E-Commerce in Europe – marketplaces for your success

by Editorial Office

E-commerce in Europe is booming: For the current year, European e-commerce sales are forecasted to increase by 13 percent. The good infrastructure, a high rate of internet users and online shoppers lead to a continuing growth in the market. International companies want to benefit from this development and plan their market entry in Europe. Global marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Co. certainly simplify this entry. For your successful debut into European e-commerce, we want to give you an overview of the most important marketplaces in Europe.

This is the second part of the series “E-Commerce in Europe”. In the first part of the series “E-commerce in Europe – a market overview”  you are made familiar with the potential of the European market and find out which product groups are particularly in demand.

Marketplaces generate 56 percent of cross-border purchases

Over the past year, global marketplaces accounted for more than half (56 percent) of all European cross-border purchases. The most successful platform is Amazon, followed by Aliexpress (Alibaba) and eBay.

Since France – along with Great Britain and Germany – generates about two-thirds of the total European e-commerce turnover and the French platform Cdiscount is of great importance for the French market, we would like to introduce you to this marketplace as well.

Amazon – Leading platform in Europe

The by far most successful European platform is Amazon: half of all cross-border marketplace purchases made by Europeans are conducted here. With this ratio, the e-commerce giant generates 25 percent of all cross-border e-commerce sales in Europe.

Amazon has set up national marketplaces for customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which are tailored to the respective target groups in terms of payment methods, shipping options etc. And that pays off: In Western European countries, Amazon is the most widely used marketplace. In Germany, for example, the company generated 53 percent of total German e-commerce sales last year, generating a revenue of approximately 15 billion euros. Much of this revenue was accounted for by the many retailers using Amazon as a platform for sales.

AliExpress – Alibaba in the European market

While Alibaba is the undisputed number one platform in Chinese e-commerce, the company still plays a subordinate role in the European market. However, according to the ECommerce Foundation’s latest European E-Commerce Report 2018, the AliExpress marketplace, which is part of the Alibabagroup, is quite popular in Eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Russia (which geographically belongs to Europe) – and also in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, more than one-third of cross-border online purchases are goods from the „Empire of the Middle“. The expansion plans announced by Alibaba also suggest that the Asian market leader wants to gain ground in other European countries in the future. According to the report, 14 percent of all cross-border purchases in Europe (including Russia) currently account for AliExpress.

eBay – online auction house for cross-border trading

eBay is the largest online auction house in the world. What started out as an exclusive auction platform has long since become one of the most important marketplaces for traders from all over the world. eBay is the most popular marketplace in Northern European countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway – and also the number one in Portugal or Cyprus. Even in the high-revenue nations Germany and the UK, eBay comes in right behind Amazon as the second most popular marketplace. Although the company had recorded a sharp drop in sales worldwide in the recent past, it has managed to generate sales of 1.45 billion US dollars in Germany and 1.36 billion US dollars in the past year – with the tendency to rise even higher. In total, eBay accounts for eight percent of all cross-border purchases in Europe.

Cdiscount – Amazon of France

For companies that want to gain ground in the French market, there is no way past the marketplace Cdiscount. Known as “Amazon of France,” the marketplace is – right after the „original Amazon“ – the second most popular e-commerce platform in the country. Cdiscount positions itself as a discount online retailer whose main segments include household goods, technology and food. However, due to a strong demand, the company now offers all product categories and has long since become a generalist. With 8.6 million active users and 19 million unique visitors per month, Cdiscount generated domestic online sales of 3.4 billion euros last year.


For American companies, an entry into the European market is extremely interesting: e-commerce sales are rising and are expected to exceed the 600 billion euro mark in Europe for the first time this year. International cross-border trade is increasing and international brands are in greater demand than ever before. Although Western Europe accounts for the largest share of the European e-commerce market, the growing purchasing power in the Eastern European countries promises high growth rates and the development of new sales markets for the future. Presence in one of the various marketplaces enables companies to get started easily and offers them the opportunity to successfully position themselves in the European market.

We at Hermes International, a division of Hermes Germany, are happy to assist you and help you with key tasks such as marketplace integration, logistics and all matters relating to customs and tax regulations.


European E-Commerce Report 2018 which can be downloaded here free of charge, t3n.de, Cdiscount.fr, handelsdaten.de

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Skander March 7, 2019 - 1:03



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