EU webshop sales over 30 percent up in the Netherlands

In Q3 2020, Dutch consumers spent a total of 605 million euros on products from foreign EU webshops. This is over 30 percent up on the same quarter of the previous year, when they spent 464 million euros. Domestic webshops recorded a year-on-year turnover increase of more than 38 percent. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of an ongoing survey.

This survey concerns online purchases by Dutch consumers from companies located outside the Netherlands. Figures are exclusive of VAT and have been calculated on the basis of a method developed by CBS as part of its research into the internet economy. As this research method is still under development, the figures are provisional.

Internet sales by EU webshops to Dutch consumers have been on the rise for years. Over a period of five years, spending by Dutch consumers in EU webshops has almost tripled. It was still 210 million euros in Q3 2015 and now stands at 605 million euros. In Q2 2020, Dutch consumers spent a record amount of 696 million euros in foreign EU webshops.

Domestic shops realise 38 percent online turnover growth

Internet sales have seen a steep rise since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. For example, the highest turnover growth rate was measured in Q2 2020. Compared to the same quarter in 2019, online sales were 55 percent higher. It is highly likely that the measures against the spread of coronavirus drove up internet sales. In Q3 2020 as well, Dutch webshops recorded an increase in turnover: 38 percent year-on-year.

In terms of domestic internet sales, a distinction can be made between actual online shops and shops selling both online and in traditional outlets, the so-called multi-channel retailers). In Q3 of last year, online shops saw their turnover go up by over 31 percent relative to one year previously. Online turnover realised by Dutch multichannel retailers was up by nearly 48 percent in this period.

Online sales by retailers (excl. petrol stations and pharmacies)
JaarKwartaalRetail traders (year-on-year % change)Multichannel retailers (not primarily online) (year-on-year % change)Mail-order companies, webshops (year-on-year % change)
2015Q117.822.914.8
2015Q219.520.618.8
2015Q324.923.026.0
2015Q425.121.527.4
2016Q124.016.728.6
2016Q221.216.923.9
2016Q316.011.118.9
2016Q419.820.319.5
2017Q116.117.515.3
2017Q220.625.617.7
2017Q321.124.219.5
2017Q421.321.621.1
2018Q121.125.618.4
2018Q218.025.413.4
2018Q317.728.711.7
2018Q415.625.89.6
2019Q116.623.612.3
2019Q218.423.314.9
2019Q317.621.814.9
2019Q415.717.714.3
2020*Q120.222.318.8
2020*Q254.968.045.2
2020*Q338.147.831.6
*Provisional figures

Turnover share of European webshops limited

Dutch consumer purchases from foreign EU webshops account for a relatively small part of domestic consumer spending. In 2018, these purchases contributed less than 2 percent to total domestic retail turnover. In Q3 2020, total Dutch retail turnover (outlet, internet and market sales) was 6.4 percent higher than in Q3 2019.

The distinction between domestic and foreign webshops tends to be blurry for Dutch consumers. Content on e-commerce websites is often available in multiple languages and foreign online stores may offer a Dutch language version.