2021 Outcomes for European E-Commerce: What New Companies Need to Know Before Entering the Market

17 January 2022

Jason Bright


The population of Europe is almost 736 million people, and about 89% of them use the Internet daily. European E-Commerce reports that 73% of Europe’s digital population purchased goods online in 2021. The most demanded business models on the market were B2B, B2C, and a relatively young player, D2C. 

According to ONS, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced offline store revenues by 1,9%, while demand for services and goods in the E-Commerce sector increased by 33.9%. 

Rocketech experts researched the European market and prepared a summary of 2021 results. You will find out about changes in the world of e-commerce and points young companies or entrepreneurs need to consider when launching their digital commerce projects in 2022.

Key Figures in European E-commerce for 2021

The world of commerce is gradually digitizing due to the impact of COVID-19. While 94% of B2B consumers have a negative online shopping experience, traditional consumer retail has a better time. For example, SCS, an English sofa distributor, has increased revenue by 146% over the past year. Sales reached a peak at the beginning of the lockdown, and now the number of orders is gradually returning to the pre-COVID level. 

Analysis of Commerce on the Example of Shopify

The global giant of commerce, the Shopify marketplace, has provided a report on the results of 2021, which shows general statistics from more than 1 billion users. The peak of sales worldwide was noticed at the beginning of 2021, namely +65% compared to the same period in 2019. This is a global increase. In Eastern Europe, this figure reached + 77% in the first quarter of 2021. By the end of the year, the hype had dropped to 10% and 13%, respectively.

When making purchases on the platform, 60% of users placed orders with smartphones, 38% with laptops and PCs, and only 2% held tablets in their hands. This ratio of devices and traffic demonstrates the need to support 2 main sales channels. That’s why it is so important to build cross-platform apps and websites for retail.

The global conversion rate for the reporting period was 2.7%. The Netherlands and the UK became leaders with CRs of 3.4% and 3.2%, respectively. Eastern Europe was less decisive and ranked 8th with 2.3%. The average one-time purchase amount varied in the range of $80-$100 globally, and for Eastern Europe, this figure did not exceed $50 during the reporting period. 

General European Statistics

Unlike Asian countries and the US, the e-commerce market in Europe is just starting to develop. Despite the small number of domestic stores, Europeans love to buy goods online. A European E-Commerce report states that as of early 2021, 91% of UK residents were actively ordering goods online. About 41% of them make more than 6 purchases per month. 

In total, Western Europe leads in terms of the number of online purchases with 86% of involved consumers. It is followed by the Northern part of Europe and 82% of buyers. Eastern Europe has 41% of online customers. These figures clearly demonstrate the difference in income and development level of the trade sector in different parts of Europe. 

How Much IT Solutions Penetrate E-commerce

Forecasts for the development of digital retail are optimistic: the expected amount of online sales is estimated at $5.4 trillion by the end of 2022, which is $1.12 trillion more than in 2020. One of the decisive factors for successful trading is the technical part of stores. Whether it’s a marketplace, a personal showcase, or a page on a social network, the level of consumer loyalty depends on the quality of a digital product. An essential component of online retail is the distributor system, especially if the seller works following the dropshipping model, delegating logistics to suppliers or manufacturers.

Retailers spent $2.8 billion in 2019 developing and implementing chatbots into their products. Over the past 2 years, they have shown their effectiveness so much that over $142 billion will be invested in this technology by 2024, according to Juniper Research. Personalized branded assistants will be the most popular. They will be about 80% of all AI solutions for digital retail.

Cryptocurrency is replacing traditional payment methods. MasterCard reports that 75% of millennials are ready to switch to paying with crypto if they study it thoroughly. A good example of the popularity of tokens is NFT trading platforms.

Security and privacy protection were also trending in 2021. About 93% of respondents said that smartphone biometric authentication is reliable and easy to use. Also, the statistics show that more than 90% of all transactions in offline and online trade are successful if a seller uses contactless payment.

Social Commerce: Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok

Marketers have long learned the benefits of omnichannel product promotion. Retailers also liked this idea, in particular B2C and D2C businesses. Global sales through social networks crossed the mark of $560 billion in 2020, and this figure will increase to $2.6 trillion by 2026, according to Statista. An increase of 4.64 times in 6 years is not a bad result, considering that advertising costs make up about 10% of this amount.

The average age of consumers purchasing goods through social networks is 18-34 years. The British are the most loyal to this type of commerce: they often invest in advertising and order goods from omnichannel retailers. Statista predicts that SMM revenues for UK companies will increase to $7.4 billion over the next 2 years.

COVID-19 in E-Commerce

UNCTAD found that 49% of respondents consciously engaged in online shopping during the pandemic. The age group of 25-44 years prevails among them, and 51% of positive answers come from women. The top categories of ordered goods were cosmetics, digital entertainment, food, clothing, and pharmacology. In 85% of purchases, delivery was carried out by courier and handed over personally.

The EUROPE E-COMMERCE REPORT 2021 confirms that most respondents preferred e-commerce over traditional commerce in 2020-2021. As expected, the leaders of digital consumers were the UK (92%), the Netherlands (91%), Denmark (90%), and Switzerland (90%). Germany closes the top five with 87% of online shoppers.

How Can New Players Launch an E-comm Business in 2022? 

When planning to launch your own e-commerce product on the market, consider the competition in your niche. Now it is so high that you may risk losing among rivals. Distinguish demanded products in your segment, analyze them, and highlight the best things to implement and the worst things to avoid. It will help you enter the rapid flow of e-commerce and stay in it, or even rise above.

Plan your roadmap ahead of time: consider scaling up or moving to an omnichannel sales strategy. Order MVP development from professionals because a high-quality IT solution is easier to transform into a full-fledged trading system.

Follow the trends. In e-commerce, innovation speed and courage are essential. Sometimes the craziest ideas can be the most effective. Let’s look at 2 key vectors for developing IT products for trade in 2022. They will become the basis of successful marketplaces and showcases in the next decade.

Focus on the Customer

Modern applications and trading platforms must provide clients with clear management logic and critical elements. In the E-commerce segment, these are filters and product categories, simple shopping carts offering related products, relevant descriptions with detailed characteristics, and high-quality content. 

Your app must work smoothly and quickly on any device, storing data in the cloud. Integrate multi-platform accounts that will allow you to authenticate users without registration. They allow for signing in with Google, Facebook, etc. Another vital component is 24/7 technical support, as well as a chatbot for automated consultations and connecting third-party payment systems. 

Logistics Connectivity

Since most E-commerce startups and newbies start with a dropshipping model, it’s necessary to 100% synchronize their stores with supplier bases. It automates uploading data to product cards in showcases and speeds up the transfer of customer information for delivery.

A perfect integration model is a well-established system that links CRM, ERP, WMS, and logistics services. It is necessary for complete control over payment, shipping, delivery, and return of goods. Such systems are used everywhere and are constantly being improved by new features. Standard toolkits include accounting, logistics, payment, and warehouse control. But in the case of startups, some functions may be abandoned. You may connect them later when your business develops and scales.

Let’s Summarize

To start an E-Commerce business, you should focus on the young but promising market of Eastern Europe. Although the level of income and expenses there is lower than that of Western colleagues, the digital commerce space there has not yet been occupied by market giants, so it’s a tasty morsel for startup entrepreneurs. 

All you need to launch a marketplace or store successfully is a business plan, idea, and IT solution. You can handle the first two yourself, and we, Rocketech, will help with the last. With our services, your project will quickly conquer the emerging market of Eastern Europe and enter a list of leaders. You may contact our manager to order a top IT solution!

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