Explanation of method

These figures have been calculated on the basis of a method which is still under development and are therefore provisional. In comparison with the previous publication, this method has been fully revised. The improvement has been implemented with retrospective effect. As a result, current results differ from previous publications (turnover levels in particular; adjustments are relatively small in terms of developments).

The size of online purchases by Dutch consumers in foreign EU webshops is calculated on the basis of VAT declarations. Filing VAT returns in the Netherlands is compulsory for companies selling products to Dutch consumers from other countries, with a threshold amount of 100 thousand euros in annual turnover. It is not compulsory for those companies with an annual turnover in the Netherlands which falls below this amount. With the VAT returns as a source, it is possible to collect data on the foreign webshops visited by Dutch consumers.

This research focuses on foreign webshops selling more than 100 thousand worth of goods to Dutch e-shoppers. As a result, the total amount spent by Dutch consumers in European webshops is underestimated. CBS is unable to provide an indication of the size of this underestimation.