March 8, 2011, 12:14 PM

A continent apart

Europe’s b2c e-commerce market is mature, diverse—and growing, according to  Internet Retailer’s newly published Top 300 Europe. The big retailers and newer niche players also continue to expand their sales in particularly hot online merchandising categories such as apparel/accessories.

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It’s been a tough couple of years for European consumers as the continent deals with a series of historic economic problems such as fiscal crises in Greece and Ireland and government austerity measures in the United Kingdom.

But even in the midst of weaker economic conditions, it’s also clear that consumers in Europe increas­ingly are doing more of their shopping online. In 2011, business-to-consumer e-commerce sales will grow 13.2% to an estimated 133.9 billion euros (US$186.1 billion) in 2011 from an estimated 118.3 billion euros (US$164.4 billion) in 2010, according to data contained in Internet Retailer’s just published Top 300 Europe.  

Collectively, Europe is a bigger market than even the U.S., where e-commerce sales grew year over year 14.8% to $165.4 billion last year from $144.1 billion in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Online retailing is growing in mature e-commerce markets such as France, Germany and the U.K. because the big chain retailers and web-only merchants continue to offer consumers a bigger and broader selection of merchandise, say retail analysts.

 The big retailers and newer niche players also continue to expand their sales in particularly hot online merchandising categories such as groceries and apparel/accessories in the U.K. and private event sales in France. In 2010, the retailers ranked in Internet Retailer’s newly published Europe Top 300 increased their collective sales 17.1% 57.5 billion euros (US$79.9 billion) in 2010 from 49.1 bil­lion euros (US$68.2 billion) in 2009.

 Here are some other data highlights:

  • Among the Internet Retailer Top 300 Europe, it’s the biggest 100 web merchants that dominate online retailing. The largest 100 retailers accounted for 90.1%—51.8 billion euros (US$72.0 billion)—of all online sales of Top 300 Europe merchants in 2010, up only slightly from 90%—44.2 billion euros (US$61.4 billion) in 2009.
  • In 2010, the Europe Top 300 retail web sites received 1.59 billion aver­age monthly visits.
  • The Europe Top 300 retail web sites in 2010 generated a typical aver­age ticket of 129 euros (US$179), after excluding the highest and lowest categories.
  • Sales conversions based on monthly visits vary widely, ranging from 0.1% to 15% for chain retailers; 1% to 8% for catalog/call center companies; 0.2% to 20% for web-only merchants; and 0.2% to 4.2% for consumer brand manufacturers.

 The Top 300 Europe for the first time profiles, ranks and reveals previously unavailable details of the online sales, operating data and executive contact information for the 300 largest e-retailers in Europe.

To order your copy of the 2011 Top 300 Europe, click here.

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