E-commerce is especially important for businesses

Online sales on Belgian sites will rise by 33% in 2021. The 150 million transactions carried out last year brought in 11.7 billion euros.

No offense to Paul Magnette, the Belgian consumer is becoming familiar with e-commerce. In one year, sales made by Belgian online stores jumped 33% which will reach 11.7 billion euros in 2021. The number of visits to sales sites is steadily increasing. In 2021, more than 150 million transactions were recorded, 39% more than last year and 2.5 times more than in 2017 (60 million).

8,500

stores

In 2021, 8,500 additional online stores opened, bringing the total to 56,642 sales sites.

These numbers come from the 6th edition of the e-commerce Barometer by SafeShops.be, the Belgian e-commerce association. Whose main interest rely on data from online merchants, not consumers, through transactions listed by payment service providers.

Selling online has become important, and retailers are realizing this. In 2021, 8,500 additional online stores will open, bringing the total to 56,642 sale sites (+17.5%). Quite logically, they are essentially micro- or small businesses (less than 100,000 or less than a million euros in revenue).



“In the covid pandemic, we’ve got 5 years in the evolution of online commerce.”

Say hello to Dekocker

CEO of SafeShops

This is quite far from the 65% jump recorded in 2020, but it was favored by the incarcerations imposed by the health crisis. “In the covid pandemic, we’ve got 5 years into the evolution of online commerce,” summarizes Greet Dekocker, general manager of SafeShops.

One in five purchases from abroad

Belgium is a country of SMEs, and this can be seen in e-commerce. The 1,455 medium and large stores (turnover of more than one million and more than 10 million euros), representing only 2.6% of the total, accounted for 84% of the volume of transactions (€ 9.8 billion). But the growth of e-commerce involves all kinds of companies.

“These results are remarkable, but they only show part of the evolution since then the barometer does not take into account the sales of Belgian businesses using the markets major platforms (bol.com, Amazon, etc.), underline Greet Dekocker.

If the Belgian is not reluctant to shop outside the borders, our neighbors also come to hunt in Belgian areas. In 2021, purchases made from abroad represent 21% of the volume transactions. A proportion that marks a restart after the 2020 brake (15%), but does not reach the performance of 2019 (25%). It is mainly the French (38%), the Dutch (37.5%) and to a lesser extent the Germans (11%) who buy from Belgian online stores.

Most customers pay for their purchases with a debit card (72.9%), generally through Bancontact (61.1%), stating that for the first times, the number of mobile payments exceeds the card payments. Notice the emergence of online payments with electronic meal vouchers or ecocheque and deferred payments, a common practice in the Netherlands.

37%

Services will represent only 37% of the volume of transactions in 2021, whereas before the crisis the ratio was more at 45-55.

E-commerce is becoming more mature. The offer improves, which attracts the barge. “Major players make up between 25% and 30% of their turnover online, and the market average is at 20%”, said Greet Dekocker.

The gradual end of the restrictions associated with Covid-19 suggests, according to him, a further growth in 2022. “Services will only reach 37% of transaction volume in 2021, whereas before the crisis we were more than the 45-55 ratio. This year, the travel recovery should drive further growth.”

The summary

  • In 2021, sales made by Belgian online stores increased jump 33% to reach 11.7 billion euros.
  • According to the SafeShops.be e-commerce barometer, 8,500 additional online stores opened, bringing the total to 56,642 sale sites (+17.5%).
  • The purchases made from abroad represent 21% of total volume, compared to 15% in 2020 and 25% in 2019.
  • The gradual end of the restrictions associated with Covid-19 suggests a further growth in 2022.

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