Dutch spend €1.5 bn in European webshops

Dutch consumers spent € 1.5 bn on cross-border purchases in European webshops in 2017, according to a report by the Dutch Statistics Bureau CBS, that was published on May 24, 2018. The figures were derived from ongoing big data research into online spending by consumers in Holland in foreign webshops.

More in particular, it involves purchases of products through e-commerce in webshops located outside the Netherlands, but within the EU. The figures are based on the tax declarations by these foreign online merchants, a highly reliable source for measuring cross-border e-commerce. Actually, these cross-border sales might even be higher than the reported € 1.5 bn, as there is a threshold of € 100.000 in turn-over, before e-commerce merchants are required to make such tax declarations. At the same time, CBS reported a possible default margin of 5%.

The Statistics Bureau further reported, that between Q1 2015 and Q1 2017 the increase in sales from European webshops was higher than that of sales in local webshops in nearly every quarter. Particularly in Q2 and Q4 2016, cross-border purchases increased by more than +30%, while local e-commerce sales volumes increased by +20%. Over the entire year 2017, growth rates in local and cross-border B2C e-commerce were equal, at a level of roundabout +20%.

Although the share of online cross-border purchases by Dutch consumers in European webshops in the overall sales of  comparable products is still relatively small (less than 2%), it has been increasing rapidly over the past years.

It is remarkable, that the € 1.5 bn in cross-border e-commerce sales in 2017 as reported by the Statistics Bureau are almost twice as high as the figures on cross-border online shopping presented over the same period by GfK and the Dutch trade organization for digital business, Thuiswinkel.org. In April 2018, they reported a total of € 817 mn in cross-border online B2C sales. Given the reliable source used by the Statistics Bureau, this seems to have been a clear underestimation of the real cross-border e-commerce purchases by online shoppers in Holland in 2017.


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