E-commerce statistics - Statistics Explained

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E-commerce statistics


Data extracted in February 2021.

Planned article update: February 2022.

Highlights
In 2019, 15 % of EU enterprises conducted e-sales using only websites or apps, 3 % used only EDI-type sales while another 3 % used both.
In 2019, the share of turnover from web sales in the EU was mainly realised via enterprises' own websites or apps.
In the EU accommodation sector, almost all enterprises making e-sales in 2019 received orders via websites or apps.


E-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, 2019 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_eseln2)


This article focuses on the electronic commerce (e-commerce) statistics in the European Union (EU) and is based on the results of the 2020 survey on 'ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises'. E-commerce refers here to the trading of goods or services over computer networks such as the internet by methods specifically designed for the purpose of receiving or placing orders. It can be divided into e-commerce sales (e-sales) and e-commerce purchases (e-purchases) depending on whether an enterprise receives or places orders respectively.

This article refers in particular to e-commerce sales carried out in 2019.

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E-sales record a slight increase over the recent years

In the EU-27, during the period 2010 to 2019, the percentage of enterprises that had e-sales increased by 6 percentage points, from 15 % in 2010 to 21 % in 2019. Similarly, the enterprise turnover generated from e-sales increased by 7 percentage points during the same period, namely from 13 % in 2010 to 20 % in 2019.


Figure 1: E-sales and turnover from e-sales, EU-27, 2010-2019 (% enterprises, % total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_eu_en2)


The share of enterprises conducting e-sales and the turnover generated from e-sales varied significantly depending on the enterprises' size (Figure 2).


Figure 2: E-sales and turnover from e-sales, by size class, EU-27, 2019 (% enterprises, % total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_eu_en2)


In 2019, 43 % of large enterprises conducted e-sales, corresponding to an e-sales value of 27 % of total turnover in this size class. Of the medium sized enterprises, 29 % made e-sales generating 15 % of total turnover in this size class. By contrast, 19 % of small enterprises engaged in e-sales, generating only 8 % of the turnover of such enterprises.

Web sales dominant in all EU countries

E-sales can be carried out via websites or apps (web sales) or in an automated way via EDI (electronic data interchange) type messages; enterprises may offer one or both options to their clients. In 2019, among the EU-27, the percentage of enterprises making e-sales ranged from 11 % in Bulgaria to 39 % in Ireland, followed by Denmark (38 %), Sweden (35 %), Croatia and Czechia ( both 31 %) (Figure 3).


Figure 3: E-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, 2019 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_eseln2)


As shown in Figure 3, in 2019, 15 % of EU enterprises conducted e-sales using only websites or apps, 3 % used only EDI-type sales while another 3 % used both.

Web sales was the dominant mode of conducting e-sales in all EU Member States in 2019. The percentage of enterprises receiving electronic orders only over websites or apps ranged from 24 % in Denmark to 9 % in Bulgaria. Enterprises consider it important to be visible on the internet. Consequently, websites or apps are increasingly offered by enterprises or third parties for various purposes. In particular, websites or apps allow customers to purchase by placing their orders electronically.

By contrast, in 2019, the percentage of enterprises that used only EDI-type messages for their sales ranged from 1 % of enterprises in Bulgaria, Romania, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Poland to 8 % in Czechia and 9 % in Sweden. The percentage of enterprises using both channels was the highest in Ireland (11 %) and Denmark (8 %).

Considering the economic activity breakdown, as shown in Figure 4, in 2019, almost all enterprises conducting e-sales in the 'Accommodation’ branch received orders via websites or apps (99 %), while 10 % had e-sales via EDI-type messages.

Figure 4: E-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, by economic activity, EU-27, 2019 (% enterprises with e-sales)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_eseln2)


More than half of ‘Manufacturing’ enterprises making e-sales reported that they received orders via EDI-type messages (52 %), followed by enterprises in the ‘Transport and storage’ sector (36 %) and Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning; water supply (30 %).

For ‘Manufacturing’ enterprises, the percentages of those that conducted e-sales via websites or apps and those who used EDI-type messages were close, 62 % and 52 % respectively. For all other economic activities, enterprises received their electronic orders in most cases via websites or apps.

It is noticeable that, among the small enterprises making e-sales, 88 % of enterprises had web sales, whereas among the large enterprises 64 % received orders via websites or apps. The percentage gap between web and EDI-type sales was smallest for large enterprises (Figure 5).

Figure 5: E-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, by size, EU-27, 2019 (% enterprises with e-sales)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_eseln2)


Share of turnover greater from EDI-type sales than web sales

While the enterprises conducting e-sales in 2019 mostly sold via websites, rather than via EDI-type messages, in terms of the value of those electronic sales the tendency was the opposite, as the turnover generated from the EDI-type sales was greater than the one generated from web sales. In 2019, EU enterprises generated 20 % of their total turnover from e-sales, consisting of orders via websites or apps (7 % of the total turnover) or via EDI-type messages (13 % of the total turnover).

Among all EU Member States, the percentage of turnover from e-sales ranged from 4 % in Greece to 44 % in Ireland, followed by Belgium (32 %), Czechia (30 %) and Denmark (29 %).

Figure 6 shows the contribution of web sales and EDI-type sales to total turnover. The share of the total turnover generated from EDI-type sales ranged from 1 % in Greece to 22 % in Czechia and 24 % in Ireland. In contrast, the share of total turnover from web sales ranged from 3 % in Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus to 14 % in Belgium and 20 % in Ireland.


Figure 6: Turnover from e-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, 2019 (% total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_evaln2)


As Figure 7 shows, large enterprises – with 250 or more persons – rely in principle on ICT and standards that integrate EDI-type sales within their business processes. In fact, large enterprises reported the highest share of turnover from e-sales (27 %), most of it from EDI-type sales (19 %).

Figure 7: Turnover from e-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, by size, 2019, (% total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_evaln2)

The highest shares of total turnover from e-sales were reported by enterprises in 'Accommodation' (37 %), 'Manufacturing' (26 %) followed by 'Transport and storage' and 'Wholesale and retail trade' (20 % both) . However, enterprises in 'Accommodation' generated most of their e-sales turnover from web sales (33 %) whereas those in 'Manufacturing' from EDI-type sales (21 %). Enterprises in 'Transport and storage' and 'Wholesale and retail trade' realised slightly less turnover from web sales (9 %) than from EDI-type sales (11 %).

Figure 8: Turnover from e-sales broken down by web and EDI-type sales, by economic activity, 2019, (% total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_evaln2)


Web sales predominantly carried out via own website or apps

Looking further into web sales, these can be carried out via own websites or apps or via e-commerce marketplaces available on external websites or apps. E-commerce marketplaces, and in general online platforms, may facilitate economic growth by enabling sellers to access new markets and reach new customers at lower cost.

For the survey on ‘ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises’, the respondents were asked to indicate if they had web sales of goods or services via the enterprise's own website or apps and/or via an e-commerce marketplace website or apps. An enterprise may use one or both web sales possibilities.

As Figure 9 shows, in 2019, 86 % of EU enterprises with web sales used their own websites or apps, while 44 % used an e-commerce marketplace. The highest percentages of enterprises with web sales via their own websites or apps were registered in Czechia, Estonia and Romania (each 97 %), while the lowest were registered in Lithuania (60 %). Czechia (18 %), Estonia (19 %) and Finland (21 %) had the lowest percentages of web sales via marketplaces. On the other hand, using web sales via marketplaces was most common in Italy (64 %), Lithuania (56 %) and Poland (55 %).


Figure 9: Web sales broken down by own website or apps and marketplace, 2019 (% enterprises with web sales)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_eseln2)


Share of turnover from web sales mainly via own websites or apps

Moreover, as far as the turnover generated from web sales is concerned, EU enterprises realised 7 % of their total turnover from web sales in 2019, where 6 % was realised from web sales via own websites or apps and only 1 % from sales via online marketplaces. The highest percentages of turnover realised through web sales via by own website or apps was recorded in Ireland (18 %) and Belgium (13 %). On the other hand, the turnovers generated via marketplaces were the highest in Ireland and in Lithuania (both 2 %) (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Turnover from web sales broken down by own website or apps and marketplace, 2019 (% total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_evaln2)


Turnover from web sales mainly from other enterprises and public authorities

In 2019, web sales accounted for 7 % of the total turnover of the enterprises. Of this, 4 % came from web sales to other enterprises and public authorities (B2BG) while 3 % came from web sales to private consumers (B2C) (Figure 11). The highest percentages of turnover resulting from web sales to other enterprises and public authorities were registered in Ireland (16 %), while in Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus the share recorded was less than 3 %. The share of web sales to private consumers in the total turnover of the enterprises ranged from 1 % in Bulgaria to 5 % in Belgium, the Netherlands and Romania.

Figure 11: Turnover from web sales broken down by B2BG and B2C, 2019 (% total turnover)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_evaln2)


Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Data presented in this article are based on the results of the 2020 survey on 'ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises'. Statistics were obtained from enterprise surveys conducted by National Statistical Authorities in the first months of each year. The surveys' reference period was the current situation of the survey period or for questions on e-commerce the preceding calendar year.

In 2020, 146 000 of the 1.6 million enterprises in the EU-27 were surveyed. Of the 1.6 million enterprises, approximately 83 % were small enterprises (10-49 persons employed), 14 % medium (50-249) and 3 % large (250 or more).

The observation statistical unit is the enterprise, as defined in the Regulation (EC) No 696/1993 of 15 March 1993. The survey covered enterprises with at least 10 persons employed. Economic activities correspond to the classification NACE Revision 2. The sectors covered are manufacturing, electricity, gas and steam, water supply, construction, wholesale and retail trades, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, transportation and storage, accommodation and food service activities, information and communication, real estate, professional, scientific and technical activities, administrative and support activities and repair of computers and communication equipment. Enterprises are broken down by size; small (10-49), medium (50-249) and large enterprises (250 or more persons employed).

Source data shown as ‘:’ refer to data that are unavailable, unreliable, confidential or not applicable. Unreliable data are included in the calculation of European aggregates. Data presented in this article may differ from the data in the database on account of updates made after the data extractions used for this article. Data in the database are organised according to the survey year.

Context

A Europe fit for the digital age is a major priority of the European Commission. The EU’s digital strategy aims to make this transformation work for people and businesses, while helping to achieve its target of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. The strategy is built on three pillars: (1) Technology that works for the people; (2) A fair and competitive digital economy; (3) An open, democratic and sustainable society.

New EU rules on e-commerce include actions related to ending unjustified cross-border barriers, facilitating cheaper cross-border parcel deliveries, protection of online customer rights and promoting cross border access to online content. The European Commission breaks down online barriers so that people may enjoy full access to all goods and services offered online by businesses in the EU.

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ICT usage in enterprises (isoc_e)
Summary of EU aggregates (isoc_ci_eu_en2)
E-commerce (isoc_ec)
E-commerce sales (isoc_ec_eseln2)
Value of e-commerce sales (isoc_ec_evaln2)
Obstacles for web sales (isoc_ec_wsobs_n2)



ICT usage in enterprises (isoc_e)
Summary of EU aggregates (isoc_ci_eu_en2)
E-commerce (isoc_ec)
E-commerce sales (isoc_ec_eseln2)
Value of e-commerce sales (isoc_ec_evaln2)
Obstacles for web sales (isoc_ec_wsobs_n2)