Nearly 32 billion euros spent in Dutch webshops in 2020

Parcel deliverer
© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
In 2020, Dutch companies generated almost 32 billion euros in turnover from the online sale of goods to consumers. Online turnover amounted to nearly 27 billion euros in the previous year. Retailers in particular realised higher turnover in the first pandemic year compared to 2019. Shops selling exclusively online accounted for almost 60 percent of total internet sales in retail trade. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of ongoing research into the level of internet sales by Dutch companies to consumers.

Online turnover of Dutch companies reached the highest level in 2020 since measurements began in 2017. Spending in Dutch webshops was less than 20 billion euros that year. Since then, more turnover has been generated each year through online channels compared to the previous year. Total internet sales in 2019 were substantially higher than in 2018. The increase was primarily due to higher turnover in wholesale trade. However, this was accompanied by a relatively large uncertainty margin.

The figures in this survey have been calculated using a method developed in a project on internet sales. These are provisional figures on the total internet sales by Dutch companies. A distinction between domestic and foreign consumers cannot be made at present. The method is still under development; especially the figures not relating to retail trade are uncertain.

Total turnover of Dutch webshops*
 Total turnover (bn euros)Total turnover (margin) (bn euros)
201719.314.0 - 26.5
201820.314.6 - 28.9
201926.618.9 - 38.2
202031.723.1 - 46.0
* Provisional figures; the whiskers show error margins (95% confidence intervals).

Bulk of online sales generated by retailers

In 2020, almost 60 percent of online purchases were made from Dutch retailers. This is equivalent to a value of approximately 19 billion euros. Consumers also bought directly from wholesale online stores, which generated around a third of online sales. This mainly involved purchases from larger companies such as clothing brands. The remaining group of companies selling online to consumers included webshops in automotive trade, manufacturing and those of publishing companies.

Turnover of Dutch webshops, 2020*
 Turnover (bn euros)Turnover (margin) (bn euros)
Retail traders18.916.9 - 22.0
Wholesale traders9.65.1 - 16.2
Other webshops3.31.1 - 7.8
* Provisional figures; the whiskers show error margins (95% confidence intervals).

Online retail turnover up sharply in 2020

Internet retailers can be divided into shops with only online sales and multi-channel retailers, who sell both online and through physical outlets. Shops selling exclusively online recorded the highest online turnover in 2020: over 11 billion euros. This is considerably more than in 2019, when internet sales amounted to 8.6 billion euros. In previous years - since measurements began in 2017 - these shops saw online turnover growth as well, but it was less substantial.

Multi-channel retailers recorded almost 8 billion euros in online sales in 2020. This is also more than in previous years; from 2017 to 2019, online sales were still between 5 and 5.5 billion euros. After the coronavirus crisis broke out in March 2020, many physical shops faced restrictions due to COVID-19 measures, such as lockdowns.

Online retail turnover*
 Mail-order companies, webshops (bn euros)Mail-order companies, webshops (margin) (bn euros)Multi-channel retailers (bn euros)Multi-channel retailers (margin) (bn euros)
20177.06.6 - - 6.2
20187.16.4 - - 6.5
20198.67.8 - - 7.1
202011.210.8 - - 10.1
* Provisional figures; the whiskers show error margins (95% confidence intervals).