Spending up in European webshops

© Hollandse Hoogte / Jordi Huisman
In the first six months of 2017, Dutch consumers spent over 600 million euros on products sold by foreign EU webshops, representing a year-on-year increase of 19 percent. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of ongoing big data research into online purchases by Dutch consumers from foreign webshops.

The purchases are those made online by Dutch consumers from webshops located within the European Union but outside the Netherlands. For all foreign webshops which record sales to Dutch consumers exceeding 100 thousand euros per year, VAT declarations in the Netherlands are compulsory. These declarations have been used as the data source. The figures have been calculated on the basis of a new method still under development (see below) and are therefore preliminary. The margin of error contained in the total turnover is approximately 5 percent.

Turnover growth of domestic webshops similar

Webshops registered in the Netherlands saw sales increase by 18 percent in the first six months of 2017. These may be shops with online sales only, or retail companies which operate a webshop aside from their brick-and-mortar shop(s).

The turnover growth among domestic webshops over the first six months of this year is comparable to the growth in turnover made in the Netherlands by foreign webshops. In 2015 and 2016, domestic webshops did not achieve the same growth rate on average as foreign webshops; in the third quarter of 2017, their turnover increased by 21 percent. As for foreign webshops, Q3 turnover figures for the Dutch market have not yet been released.

To Dutch consumers, the distinction between domestic and foreign webshops tends to be blurry. Foreign e-commerce websites are often in Dutch. However, the distinction is relevant from a macroeconomic perspective, as purchases in foreign webshops do not contribute to the Dutch economy, contrary to those made in domestic webshops.
Of all retail shopping done online by Dutch consumers, around 10 percent is done in European (non-domestic) webshops.