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10 Things You Should Know About European ecommerce

Selling online internationally requires more than a one-size-fits-all global strategy, you need to localise your approach to each individual country and market. However before you attempt to market or advertise to these global audiences you need to know how they use the internet. For example a French consumer uses the web in a different way to someone in Germany, likewise China and Spain and so on. With that in mind here are10 things about global ecommerce that businesses which are looking to sell internationally should be aware of:

1. Mobile search is on the rise in France
Not only has tablet usage doubled in France in the last 12 months but a third of the population now owns a smartphone and this has unsurprisingly led to a steady increase in mobile search in the country. What is perhaps more surprising though is that 68% of mobile search takes place at home. The conversion rate for mobile search in France is just over a quarter.  

2. French consumers are discerning
Purchasing products online is not some knee-jerk, rapid process for French consumers. Instead they spend a long time comparing what’s on offer and reading reviews before actually committing to a sale. The result of this is that France has one of the lowest return rates for ecommerce purchases in Europe at between 10 and 15% - much lower than Germany’s 20-25%.

3. Mobile is king in the Middle East and Africa
More than nine out of 10 internet users in the Middle East and Africa use their phones to go online. This is the highest rate of mobile internet access on the globe.

4. German consumers like choice
Payment methods and which to offer is one of the critical criteria to get right when entering foreign markets and it’s no different in Germany. Research has shown that by retailers offering a choice of payment methods they can actually increase their sales. Paying by invoice is the most popular method of paying, with just under half of Germans preferring to part with their cash this way, followed by credit cards and then PayPal.

5. The Dutch love to shop online
When you think of global ecommerce the Netherlands is probably not one of the first nations that spring to mind – however the Dutch are keen internet shoppers. In 2013 80% of internet users in the Netherlands made an online purchase, while the nation also boasts an extremely active elderly population when it comes to Ecommerce with eight in 10 65-75-year-olds accessing the web regularly for this reason. It’s not just the more experienced consumer getting in on the act though. The Netherlands is home to Europe’s highest rate of social media users – a figure that stands at 98% for 18-24-year-olds.

6. Smartphones are big in Sweden
In 2013 Sweden’s smartphone usage was more than double the European average, while the country can now also claim to being the eighth largest online marketing market in Europe. In other Swedish news the nation’s consumers are fond of content marketing, with eight in 10 marketers believing that it is an effective method to enhance a business’ brand.

7. Italy’s Ecommerce is surviving country’s economic problems
As a nation Italy has not had the best of it economically recently, yet despite these difficulties ecommerce continues to grow. Internet sales were up nearly a fifth at the end of last year, and as many as 14 million Italians now use the web to shop.

8. Norwegians are much more likely to buy via desktops Norway’s Ecommerce spend was considerably up in the second half of 2013, however of these purchases the vast majority (86%) were made via a desktop. Sales through tables accounted for less than 10% of transactions and mobile was even less at below 5%.

9. The Danes are fond of foreign retailers
A disposition to shopping from foreign retailers is quite common in global ecommerce. Take Russia for instance, a lack of trust in domestic sellers has caused consumers to cast their gaze further afield. Denmark is one such nation that can be relied upon to buy from non-domestic retailers and in quarter four of 2013 almost one in two Ecommerce purchases were from a foreign business.

10. Spanish consumers are nervous about online fraud
Despite Spain being fourth in terms of Ecommerce billing in Europe the country’s online market is still plagued by inherent trust issues, especially surrounding online fraud. In a recent consumer survey 54% of Spaniards admitted they were still nervous about giving their details out online.

Sources: eMarketer, MarketingOnline, t3nMagazine, Fevad, FDH,

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