Back Online sales continue to grow for EU enterprises


© William Potter / European Union
Enterprises in the European Union (EU) are increasingly relying on e-commerce sales (online sales) in order to maximise their profits. Together with increasing use of the internet and improving security standards, it has become easier for enterprises to serve their customers online. During the current coronavirus pandemic, with high street shops in lockdown and businesses and consumers under social distancing restrictions, e-commerce sales can be expected to grow even further. 
17% of EU enterprises reported online sales of at least 1% of their turnover during 2018. This was the same share as in the previous two years, and up from 13% in 2009. 
With 36% of enterprises selling online, up from 31% the previous year, Ireland recorded the highest share among the EU Member States. Denmark came second (34%) and Sweden third (31%). The increase in enterprises selling online (of at least 1% of their turnover) was strongest in Austria, up by 6 percentage points (pp) from 14% in 2017 to 20% in 2018. 
Infographic: Share of enterprises with online sales of at least 1% of turnover, 2018
Data source: isoc_ec_eseln2
Considering the location of the customers, it was most common to sell to clients in the own country (19% of enterprises), with sales to clients in other EU countries (9%) and the rest of the world (5%) less frequent.
Moreover, in 2018, 16% of EU enterprises conducted online sales using websites or apps (web sales), either to private consumers (B2C) (13%) or to business and government (B2BG) (11%), and 6% used EDI-type sales in order to sell mainly to their business customers. The enterprises performed their web sales either through the enterprises’ own website or app (14% of enterprises) or through an e-commerce marketplace (6%). 
Eurostat has released data for the 2019 Community survey on ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises; methodological information related to the survey can be found here, the full data from the survey is available here.
  • The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.
  • Data in the database are organised according to the survey year; the results above refer to the calendar year prior to the survey.

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