Retail trade in Belgium - statistics & facts

Belgium, which is located in Western Europe, is a modern economy with 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 500 billion euros in 2020. One year earlier, a total of approximately 128 thousand enterprises (including the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry) were active on the Belgian market.

Retail chains and stores

The Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) accounted for a combined total of around 3,800 retail chains, close to 1,600 of which were specifically located in Belgium. Many of the country’s largest chains, in terms of sheer number of stores, were supermarkets, such as Colruyt, Delhaize, and Lidl. By far the largest chains were Aldi and Carrefour Market (one of Carrefour's main subsidiaries), which each accounted for over 430 outlets across the country. Other common franchises included Renmans, Leonidas, and Zeeman. That being said, not all stores belong to a specific chain or group. In truth, only about a fifth of retail locations in Belgium were part of a retail chain. Retail encompasses various kinds of specific categories, from fashion and luxury to home goods and DIY. In 2020, some 45 percent of retail locations in Belgium were either leisure stores or service outlets, making them the most common retail store types.

International trade

At the end of 2021, Belgium’s international merchandise trade balance amounted to just over 14 billion euros, indicating that the country exported more goods than it imported. That year, Belgium exported around 464 billion euros’ worth of goods, while its yearly import value amounted to some 450 billion euros. Both imports and exports grew significantly (by roughly 100 million euros) in 2021 compared to 2020. Unsurprisingly, some of Belgium’s favorite trading partners included neighboring European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and France.

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