March 9, 2011, 2:55 PM

The Yanks are coming again

More U.S. web merchants target Europe for e-commerce growth.

Lead Photo

Internet Retailer's new Top 300 Europe

There’s a renaissance under way among U.S. web retailers targeting Europe for e-commerce growth, according to data and analysis contained in Internet Retailer’s newly published Top 300 Europe research guide.

Some U.S. web merchants such as have tried selling online in Europe in recent years, but pulled back because of problems with unexpectedly high operating costs, language barriers, international payments processing and other issues.

But today U.S. web retailing companies that are selling successfully in Europe—or have ambitious plans to create a viable European e-commerce business over time—aren’t doing it just from the U.S. And they aren’t doing it on a shoestring budget. Instead, a significant number of U.S. Internet retailers such as Inc., Inc. (now a unit of Rakuten Inc.), Estee Lauder Cos. Inc., Gap Inc., Vistaprint Inc. and others that have identified Europe as a big business opportunity are spending large amounts of time and money to make key acquisitions, create local supply chains, and develop regional fulfillment or customer service centers.

U.S. web merchants in Europe also are building marketing and merchandising programs that cater to specific groups of European shoppers, according to analysis and data in the Top 300 Europe.

The effort is paying off for U.S. web merchants. Here are some results from Internet Retailer’s Top 300 Europe:

  • In 2010, the 28 biggest U.S. retailers, including Amazon, ranked in the Top 300 Europe increased their sales 25% to a combined 15.5 billion euros (US$21.55 billion) in 2010 from 12.4 billion euros (US$17.24 billion) in 2009.
  • In 2010, U.S. web merchants accounted for about 27% of Top 300 Europe sales of 57.5 billion euros (US$79.9 billion) and 13.1% of all estimated European e-retail sales of 118.3 billion euros (US$164.4 billion).
  • is Europe’s biggest online retailer with sales that reached an Internet Retailer-estimated 9.36 billion euros (US$13.0 billion) in 2010, up 39.7% from 6.70 billion euros (US$9.3 billion) in 2009.

More U.S. retailers will target Europe for online retailing business development opportunities, says Forrester Research principal analyst and research director Zia Daniell Wigder, who covers Europe. The most successful merchants will be the ones that tailor their marketing and merchandising plans to each country, she says. “Lots of cross-border issues still remain and the evolution of e-commerce across countries hasn’t been uniform,” says Wigder. “U.S. retailers have to account for those facts in planning where they want to sell online in Europe.”

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 Top 300 Europe, click here

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