Europe is home to 748 million people, living in 44 different countries, speaking 24 different official languages and using 20 different national currencies (with EURO being the primary currency used in 19 countries). Despite the already huge e-commerce market size of 662 billion EUR (2022) across diverse markets, Europe still offers immense e-commerce businesses opportunities.
Buying online is very popular in many European markets throughout all segments – from classical online-retail (primarily fashion and electronics) to digital goods and streaming to services like event-tickets, travel or food delivery. More than 30% of online purchases are cross-border. With regards to payments, there are no singular dominant payment methods across the continent (like debit/credit cards would be in the US). There are many local preferences in the different markets and understanding the right mix of payment methods is key to capture market opportunities in the different European countries.
Europe shows sustainable e-commerce growth and this trend is predicted to be long-term – fueled by multiple factors:
● A 2021 survey shows that 40% of European e-shoppers have doubled or more than doubled their purchases on the internet in the past year. Not just since the Covid-Lockdowns people enhanced their online-purchases to more categories with online food-ordering as one of the main examples. Once used to the convenience of getting more and more goods delivered this has proven to be a sustainable trend and also motivates more classical brick-and-mortar
● Other areas of e-commerce outside of online retail are also on the rise. Sale of digital goods, movie and music streaming, subscription of online services (from meal-delivery to travel to event tickets, etc.) as well as online gaming, which become common through all age groups.
● In addition to the growth of e-commerce volumes in established markets like the UK or Germany, other European regions are catching up quickly. Consumers in Eastern and Southern European markets that historically showed smaller adoption to online purchases – are growing above average.
The growing number of new e-shoppers both across all the different European countries and across different age groups, also increases the challenges of e-shops to offer the right mix of payment methods. Historically payment preferences in the different European countries are very diverse. At the same time e-shoppers get more demanding: surveys show that up to 86% of buyers are inclined to abandon their purchase if their preferred payment method is not available. Over the last years numerous new “local payment methods” have entered the market or increased their offer. This makes it easier for online retailers to broaden their mix of payments and to capture new market opportunities fully.