Belgium loses 2 billion on foreign online stores - Companies

Belgium loses 2 billion on foreign online stores – Companies

On average, Belgians spent 1,015 euros on online purchases in 2021, representing a turnover of almost 12 billion euros. However, a significant part of this sum will go to neighboring countries. “It is not yet too late for Belgian e-commerce, but we must act quickly,” says the Central Business Council.

Whether it’s laundry, clothes or plane tickets, more and more Belgians are turning to online shops. In 2021, 11.7 billion euros were spent online. A year earlier, that figure was just 8.8 billion. This is what the Central Economic Council (CRB) calculated on the basis of data from Ecommerce Europe and Eurostat in a report on the challenges of Belgian e-commerce that Trends was able to examine. The study is part of the “4 Belgium E-commerce Strategy” that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) wishes to pursue. In 2015, our online spending amounted to just 4.1 billion euros.

Whether it’s laundry, clothes or plane tickets, more and more Belgians are turning to online shops. In 2021, 11.7 billion euros were spent online. A year earlier, that figure was just 8.8 billion. This is what the Central Economic Council (CRB) calculated on the basis of data from Ecommerce Europe and Eurostat in a report on the challenges of Belgian e-commerce that Trends was able to examine. The study is part of the “4 Belgium E-commerce Strategy” that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) wishes to pursue. In 2015, our online spending amounted to just 4.1 billion euros. This sharp increase can be partly attributed to the heyday of online stores during lockdowns. On the other hand, the CRB also sees a change in mentality among consumers. New technologies are changing shopping behavior and there is greater confidence in the security of websites and online payments. Neighboring countries are European e-commerce champions. In the Netherlands, we find Bol.com and Coolblue. With Zalando, Germany probably has the largest online clothing offer in the world. Low prices and free delivery make them tough competitors for Belgian online suppliers who have to charge higher prices.”Although sales are improving, the Belgian economy remains the big loser in the online shopping battle “, indicates the CRB. “Belgians on average buy fewer products and services online than residents of neighboring countries and the rest of Europe. While Belgians spent an average of 1,015 euros online in 2021, Germans spent 1 288 and the French 1,909 euros. “It also emerges from the CRB’s analysis that Belgians buy on average much more on international online shops than the European average. These purchases are made to the detriment of Belgian companies and therefore cause a flight of turnover abroad. According to the sector association Becommerce, the loss is 1.79 billion euros, the sector federation Safeshops estimates the loss at 1.9 billion euros and Cross-Border Europe at 2.29 billion euros. The real value will be somewhere in the middle, around 2 billion euros. The biggest competition for the Belgian market comes from the Netherlands. The ecosystem is simply better prepared for it. The monolingual country can create more transparent websites, families and businesses are more familiar with digital technologies, digital connectivity is better, and the ICT sector is highly developed and advanced. In addition, our neighbors to the north benefit from the advantage of the “first mover”, which means that the country immediately pulled the map of online shops. The significant investments made for the development of these platforms are bearing fruit. It is very difficult for Belgium to have its own Zalando or Bol.com. Our national market is too small to sell the volumes needed to finance the conquest of international markets. But more small online shops should be able to grow. Micro and small enterprises are currently overrepresented in the market. They fail to generate enough revenue to grow their businesses and to grow enough to be able to hire staff. barriers to adopting e-commerce. It is more difficult for them to set up a logistics structure suitable for e-commerce, and the costs of organizing the online store and marketing can be quite high. Access to finance and, more generally, the very high level of indebtedness appear as two of the main obstacles faced by SMEs in launching and developing their online activities. However, according to the CBR, these factors are not sufficient to explain Belgium’s disadvantage. The social interlocutors will soon examine what the challenges are. Is it consumer demand, supply, or rather practical problems of delivery, production or the layout of the online store? It is not yet too late for Belgian e-commerce, but we must act, believes the CRB. They believe there is room for improvement in online payments, social media shopping, showrooming (trying on an item in-store and buying it online), webrooming (searching online and buy from a brick-and-mortar type store), big data and artificial intelligence. According to the CRB, Belgium can regain market share online, and thus avoid a turnover drain, if the Belgian online shops focus more on the latest trends and innovations in e-commerce.

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