Belgium is a small country with a large and modern economy. Located in the center of Western Europe, bordering the likes of France, the Netherlands, and Germany, Belgium boasts a diverse set of industries and commercial activities. Over the past decade, sales numbers of the entire wholesale and retail trade in Belgium had developed positively, ultimately reaching an estimated annual turnover of over 490 billion euros in 2019. In 2020, overall turnover did decline somewhat, likely due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That same year, a total of approximately 145 thousand enterprises (including the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry) were active on the Belgian market.
Retail chains and stores
Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) accounted for a combined total of nearly 3,900 retail chains, close to 1,600 of which were specifically located in Belgium. Many of the country’s largest chains, in terms of sheer shopping floor area, were supermarkets, for example, AD Delhaize and Lidl. But by far the largest chains were Aldi, Colruyt, and Carrefour Market (one of Carrefour's main subsidiaries). Colruyt and Aldi each accounted for roughly 450 square kilometers of shop floor area across the country. Carrefour Market led the list with nearly 550 square kilometers.
At the end of 2022, Belgium’s international merchandise trade balance amounted to roughly 12 billion euros, indicating that the country exported more goods than it imported. That year, Belgium exported more than 600 billion euros’ worth of goods, while its yearly import value amounted to some 590 billion euros. Both imports and exports grew significantly (by roughly 100 billion euros) in 2022 compared to 2021. Unsurprisingly, some of Belgium’s favorite trading partners included nearby European countries.
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Research expert covering shopping behavior, sports and leisure retail, and the subscriptions and direct selling industry