Since 2014, Dutch consumers have spent more in foreign EU webshops in each quarter compared to the same period one year previously. Since the pandemic outbreak in particular, these expenditures have increased sharply. In 2020, quarterly growth peaked at more than 38 percent and in the first three months of 2021, a record growth rate of nearly 64 percent was achieved. After an entire pandemic year, growth in Q2 2021 was comparable again to the level in pre-crisis years for the first time.
The figures relate to online purchases by Dutch consumers from companies located outside the Netherlands and within the EU, and are exclusive of VAT. The distinction between domestic and foreign webshops tends to be blurry for Dutch consumers. Content on e-commerce websites is often available in various languages and foreign online stores may offer a Dutch language version.
Domestic webshops also reporting slower growth
In Q2 2021, Dutch online retailers realised over 16 percent more turnover than in the same period last year. This growth rate is also considerably lower than in previous quarters with COVID-19. In the first quarter of 2021, there was still record growth of nearly 85 percent. Turnover of Dutch internet retailers includes sales to both domestic and foreign consumers.
In terms of Dutch internet sales, a distinction can be made between online shops and the ‘multichannel retailers’: companies with online sales in addition to their brick-and-mortar shop(s). In Q2 2021, webshops with only online sales saw their turnover go up by 15 percent year-on-year, while multichannel retailers achieved over 18 percent higher sales. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, multichannel retailers in particular have seen a sharp rise in online turnover. In Q1 2021, online turnover was even more than twice the level of one year previously.
|Jaar||Kwartaal||Retail traders (year-on-year % change)||Multichannel retailers (not primarily online) (year-on-year % change)||Mail-order companies, webshops (year-on-year % change)|
|* provisional figures|
Turnover share of European webshops limited
Although purchases from European webshops by Dutch consumers have increased considerably over the years, the effect on consumer spending is limited. This is because these purchases only account for a relatively small part of total domestic consumer spending. In 2019, online purchases contributed no more than 2 percent to total domestic retail turnover. In Q2 2021, total Dutch retail turnover (store, internet and market sales) was approximately 8 percent higher than in Q2 2020.