Market size of e-commerce in Belgium 2015-2019

The e-commerce market size of Belgium increased by almost 7.5 percent in 2019 when compared to 2018. Belgian consumers bought roughly 11.5 billion euros worth of purchases online. In 2019, Belgian was one out of six European countries where online shopping made up more than three percent of GDP, even though it was Europe’s 14th e-commerce market in absolute terms. When it comes to online shopping penetration in the same year, 66 percent of Belgian people said they bought something online. This was slightly above the European average, as 63 percent of EU-28 consumers (60 percent of the EU-27 without the United Kingdom) used online shopping.

Is COVID-19 Belgium’s e-commerce breakthrough?

Like in most countries, offline retail sales in Belgium dropped significantly over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of March 2020, transactions that were processed by mobile wallet Stocard, for example, decreased by roughly 45 percent compared to a week before. Does this indicate that Belgians started buying more online? Not necessarily, as stockpiling and a sudden surge in retail transactions in mid-March might influence sales figures. What is noticeable, however, is that Belgium’s offline sales seem to have returned to “normal” faster than it in the Netherlands. This might mean that Belgium relies more on brick-and-mortar-retail than its neighboring country. On the other hand, results from a small survey in May 2020 suggest that Belgians were actively looking for web shops of local stores, following government advise to support local economies. Many people, such as elderly people, bought something online for the first time, such as flowers. The full effects of COVID-19 on Belgian e-commerce are yet to be seen, and could go either way.

Language a driver for online shopping

Belgium is a more complicated market for online shopping than one might expect. Domestically speaking, the e-commerce is said to be small as most Belgians were more willing to buy from foreign web shops than many other European consumers. This might have to with the fact that Belgium has two main languages: Flemish-Dutch in the north (Flanders) and French in the south (Wallonia and parts of the Brussels-Capital Region). In 2019, 78 percent of Dutch-speaking individuals and 80 percent of French-speaking individuals had ordered products via an e-commerce website.

Total revenue of e-commerce sales in Belgium from 2015 to 2019

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Source

Release date

March 2020

Region

Belgium

Survey time period

2015 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The figures have been taken from several publications.

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Statistics on "E-commerce in Belgium"

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