1.5 billion euros spent in foreign EU webshops

© Hollandse Hoogte
In Q4 2017, Dutch consumers spent around 400 million euros on products sold by foreign EU webshops, totalling approximately 1.5 billion euros for the entire year 2017. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of ongoing big data research into online purchases by Dutch consumers from foreign webshops.

These purchases concern online purchases of goods by Dutch consumers from companies 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 are compulsory. These declarations have been used as the data source. Figures have been calculated on the basis of a new method still under development and are therefore provisional. The margin of error in relation to total turnover amounts to approximately 5 percent.

Dutch consumer spending in foreign EU webshops
   Turnover (million euros)
2014Q1 174
2014Q2 199
2014Q3 182
2014Q4 218
2015Q1 217
2015Q2 252
2015Q3 234
2015Q4 281
2016Q1 264
2016Q2 341
2016Q3 293
2016Q4 373
2017Q1 339
2017Q2 388
2017Q3 354
2017Q4 426
* Provisional figures with a margin of error of approximately 5 percent.

Turnover growth of domestic webshops virtually the same in 2017

Webshops registered in the Netherlands saw sales increase by 21 percent in Q4 2017. These may be shops with online sales only, or retail companies which operate a webshop aside from their brick-and-mortar shop(s).

From 2015 up to and including Q1 2017, the turnover growth among domestic webshops was smaller in almost all quarters than the growth in turnover realised in the Netherlands by foreign EU webshops. In the last three quarters of 2017, however, the growth rate achieved by domestic webshops was just as high or higher. For the entire year 2017, the turnover growth among domestic and foreign EU webshops realised in the Netherlands was equally large.

Turnover development online sales
   Online sales by Dutch webshops (year-on-year % change)Online purchases from foreign (EU) webshops (year-on-year % change)

To Dutch consumers, the distinction between domestic and foreign webshops tends to be blurry. Foreign e-commerce websites are often multilingual, including 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. Purchases made by Dutch people in European webshops account for a relatively small part of total spending on similar products by Dutch consumers. These purchases amount to less than 2 percent in 2017. This share has grown significantly in recent years.