Online fashion in the Netherlands - Statistics & Facts

E-commerce in the Netherlands has continued to expand. As many as 54 million online purchases were made in the Netherlands in the second quarter of 2018, as opposed to roughly 33 million in the same period three years before. Like in other European countries, fashion or sports goods are the product group that is most likely to be bought online in the Netherlands. The percentage of Dutch consumers who bought clothes or sporting articles through a web shop tripled from 19 percent in 2007 to 57 percent in 2017. In a 2018-survey, just 20 percent of Dutch respondents indicated they never purchased fashion, accessories, shoes or jewelry online. Only in the United Kingdom a bigger share of the population (61 percent) bought these products online. Alongside the developments in e-commerce, growth can also be seen within Dutch fashion retail: in 2017, the industry's total revenue increased by 4.6 percent, which was the biggest change in ten years. E-commerce made up roughly 25 percent in total retail sales of both shoes as well as clothing in 2017.

Unlike Dutch online retail as a whole, there is a strong presence of foreign companies when it comes to online fashion in the Netherlands. Based on online revenue generated in the Netherlands, Germany's Zalando is the biggest direct seller of fashion in the Netherlands with a revenue of 670 million euros in 2017. Other important foreign companies in the Netherlands are Sweden's H&M, Spain's Zara and Germany's Bonprix, with online revenues of 220 million euros, 70 million euros and 55 million euros respectively. Based on net e-commerce sales, Dutch websites Wehkamp.nl and Bol.com are the most popular. Both, however, are third-party sellers which also sell shoe care products as well as accessories, bags and outdoor clothing. When it comes to clothing, Dutch online shoppers stated in 2018 they would rather purchase fashion directly from a retailer instead of an online marketplace or third-party seller such as AliExpress or Amazon. And while over 60 percent of respondents to a 2018 survey indicated they preferred to buy shoes in a brick-and-mortar store, the preference for buying shoes online had increased significantly when compared to three years earlier.

Fashion retailers achieve a high online customer engagement in the Netherlands. The Dutch website of Zalando, zalando.nl, reached a total of 35.2 million desktop visits in 2017 with a desktop bounce rate (an "search engine optimization" or SEO metric that measures how many consumers leave a particular website without clicking on anything) of 17.8 percent. Hm.com, Esprit.nl and Zara.com also managed to keep roughly 85 percent of their Dutch visitors on their website after seeing the first page. This in part may be due to the fact that Dutch consumers use shop websites as orientation channels for both clothing as well as shoes. H&M is an example of this. Hm.com attracted considerably less desktop traffic from the Netherlands in 2017 than Zalando (15.4 million visits opposed to 35.2 million visits). The H&M app, however, was among the most downloaded apps on Dutch iPhones in October 2018.

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