E-commerce growth


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E-commerce growth and maturity in Europe at a glance

E-commerce is growing at a rapid pace in Europe and this growth is expected to continue for years to come. The various behaviours motivating e-commerce utilisation is resulting in dramatic shifts in required performance for supply chain solutions, when compared to supplying conventional retail markets.

The convenience factor is likely to place greater demands still on options related to short delivery times and home delivery. This further highlights the demand for sustainable solutions to supply chain challenges.

This article offers a glimpse based on official statistics and relevant published surveys. It is based on the Sweco Urban Insight report "Signed, sealed, delivered – Analysing the impact of e-commerce on urban areas".



E-commerce is growing at a high rate

Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce is a relatively new phenomenon and began representing a statistically measurable percentage only a few years ago. On the EU level, two per cent of B2C sales were made online in 2016. The corresponding figure for EU-level retail B2C sales was 5 per cent, with Eurostat citing 12 per cent for Sweden and 8 per cent for the UK.

As measured in turnover, the e-commerce growth rate has been in the range 10–15 per cent per year for several years, according to statistics from Sweden and the UK. It is expected to continue growing. Conventional retail is also expected to grow, but typically at a rate of 1–2 per cent per year.

People become more inclined to spend money online as markets mature. As of this writing, e-commerce has a higher adoption rate in Western and Northern European countries, while Southern and Eastern European countries generally have a lower share of individuals who have made online purchases.