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.
In 2014, spending in foreign EU webshops by Dutch consumers amounted to less than 700 million euros. This has almost quadrupled over a period of seven years. Compared to the same period in 2019, purchases increased sharply in the last three quarters of 2020 in particular, with growth rates of 30 to 38 percent. In Q1 2020, the increase was less substantial: 18 percent. Just before the transition to the second quarter, the Netherlands was faced with the coronavirus crisis and its consequences.
Also strong turnover growth for domestic webshops
Dutch webshops have recorded a sharp increase in turnover as well since the start of the coronavirus crisis. This includes sales to both Dutch and foreign consumers. Whereas in 2015 the year-on-year turnover increase peaked at 22.1 percent, online sales rose by more than 40 percent in 2020.
In terms of Dutch internet sales, a distinction can be made between webshops with only online sales and companies with online sales aside from their brick-and-mortar shop(s) (so-called multi-channel retailers). Last year’s increase in Dutch internet sales is mainly attributable to multi-channel retailers. Compared to 2019, online sales increased by more than half. In Q4 2020, they even rose by nearly three-quarters. Turnover realised by webshops with only online sales rose sharply as well, by nearly 36 percent. In previous years, the largest increase was less than 23 percent.
|Jaar||Kwartaal||Retail traders (year-on-year % change)||Multi-channel retailers (not primarily online) (year-on-year % change)||Mail-order companies, webshops (year-on-year % change)|
Turnover share of European webshops limited
Although purchases from EU webshops by Dutch consumers have increased considerably over the years, the effect on consumer spending is limited as they only account for a relatively small part. In 2018, these purchases contributed less than 2 percent to total domestic retail turnover. In 2020, total Dutch retail turnover (outlet, internet and market sales) was 6 percent higher than in 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.