EU webshops generate €455 million in the Netherlands

In Q2 2018, Dutch consumers purchased around 455 million euros (excl. VAT) worth of products from foreign EU webshops. This represents an increase of 18 percent relative to Q2 2017. Online sales by Dutch retailers was up by around 19 percent in this period. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of ongoing research.

Sales to Dutch consumers generated by European webshops have more than doubled over a four-year period. These concern online purchases of goods 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 VAT declarations have been used as the data source. Small webshops have not been included in the survey, which results in an underestimation of the total amount spent by Dutch consumers in European webshops. Figures have been calculated on the basis of a method which is still under development and are therefore provisional. The margin of error in relation to total turnover amounts to approximately 5 percent.

Domestic online sales increase slightly more rapidly

In Q2 2018, webshops registered in the Netherlands saw internet sales go up by nearly 19 percent compared to one year previously. This is slightly higher than the turnover growth realised by European webshops from sales to Dutch consumers in this period (18 percent). Internet turnover generated by webshops based in the Netherlands grew by over 14 percent in Q2; Dutch retail companies with internet sales aside from their brick-and-mortar shop(s) recorded 26 percent in online turnover growth. Total turnover in the Dutch retail sector rose by over 4 percent in the same quarter.

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
2018 Q218.818

Turnover share of European webshops small

To Dutch consumers, the distinction between domestic and foreign webshops tends to be blurry. Webshops are often multilingual and foreign webshops may have a Dutch version. Purchases made by Dutch customers in European webshops are relatively small. In 2017, these accounted for less than 2 percent of total retail turnover generated in the Netherlands.