Slower growth for e-commerce in the Netherlands

12/12/2006 14:00

Online sales of products and services by companies in the Netherlands grew more slowly in 2005 than in preceding years. Turnover of Dutch companies realised via e-commerce is now clearly below the European average. 

Largest growth in e-commerce before 2001

Just over 9 percent of the turnover of all Dutch companies was generated by online sales to both other companies and private households in 2005. This is three times as much as in 1999. The largest increase took place between 1999 and 2001. After that the growth decreased to about one half of a percent point per year.
As a result of this slowdown, e-commerce has not been able to live up to the expectations of a few years ago. It seems as if new impulses are required to push up the growth in e-commerce further.

Percentage of e-commerce at Dutch companies

Percentage of e-commerce at Dutch companies

Large differences between sectors of industry

In the Netherlands e-commerce is most significant in the manufacturing industry. Here it accounted for 13 percent of total turnover in the years 2004–2005. In trade, too, and in the sector transport, storage and communication a relatively large share of turnover is generated by online sales. Of the three sectors, trade in particular has shown a sharp increase in online sales since 2001.

The share of e-commerce in these three sectors differs substantially from online transactions in the other sectors. In the largest of these, business services, less than 4 percent of trade was accounted for by e-commerce in 2004–2005. This percentage has hardly grown since 2001.

Percentage of e-commerce by sector of industry, 2004/2005

Percentage of e-commerce by sector of industry, 2004/2005

Dutch e-commerce lagging in Europe

Within the European Union e-commerce was only measured in the five largest sectors of industry. According to the European definition Dutch e-commerce accounted for just over 10 percent of turnover in 2005. This is clearly below the EU average of 13 percent. In Ireland and the United Kingdom it accounted for nearly one fifth of total turnover in 2005.

In 2004 the Netherlands was still in the region of the European average. In most European countries the share of e-commerce rose substantially in 2005, whereas growth in the Netherlands was much slower.

E-commerce in some EU countries

E-commerce in some EU countries

Eugène van der Pijll