Spending in European webshops up by 15 percent

In Q1 2018, Dutch consumers spent around 400 million euros (excl. VAT) on products sold by foreign EU webshops. This represents an increase of 15 percent relative to Q1 2017. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of ongoing 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 product 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. European webshops with product sales below 100 thousand euros are not included in the research. As a result, the total amount spent by Dutch consumers in European webshops is underestimated. 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.

Turnover of domestic webshops increases more rapidly

Webshops registered in the Netherlands saw sales increase by nearly 22 percent in Q1 2018. This is more than the turnover growth realised by European webshops for sales to Dutch consumers in this period (15 percent). Turnover generated by Dutch shops with only online sales grew by 19 percent; Dutch retail companies which operate a webshop aside from their brick-and-mortar shop(s) recorded turnover growth of 26 percent. Total turnover in the Dutch retail sector rose by 2.7 percent in Q1 2018.

Turnover development online sales (year-on-year % change)
 Online sales by Dutch webshopsOnline sales by foreign (EU) webshops to Dutch consumers
2015 Q117.825
2015 Q219.526.9
2015 Q324.928.8
2015 Q425.128.7
2016 Q12421.7
2016 Q221.235
2016 Q31625.2
2016 Q419.832.7
2017 Q116.129
2017 Q220.613.1
2017 Q321.121.1
2017 Q421.314.8
2018 Q121.814.9

Turnover share of European webshops small

To Dutch consumers, the distinction between domestic and foreign webshops tends to be blurry. Foreign e-commerce websites are often multilingual, including Dutch. 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 amounted to less than 2 percent in 2017.