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Several recent studies indicate that online B2C sales are climbing steadily in Europe, despite economic headwinds and much belt-tightening on the part of consumers. The latest in a series of reports to make this point is the “European Online Retail Forecast 2012 to 2017” from
Forrester Research. According to Forrester, European online sales in key markets—Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK—will rise an average of 12% annually between 2012 and 2017, to reach €170 billion ($217 billion) at the end of the forecast period.
eMarketer, which published new forecasts for digital sales in January 2013, also has confidence in the medium-term future of regional ecommerce, anticipating that annual B2C ecommerce sales in Western Europe will reach $438.31 billion by 2016.
Forrester also predicted that more mature markets—such as the UK, France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries—will see momentum decline, while Italy and Spain will maintain a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 16% and 18%, respectively.
It’s undeniable that expansion will be slower in northern European nations where digital buying is already well established, including in the UK. On the other hand, eMarketer estimates that double-digit growth will continue in every Western European country this year. Overall ecommerce growth in the region is expected to slip from nearly 14% in 2013 to 11.5% next year, and drop below 10% in 2015.
In Western Europe, nearly 179 million people ages 14 and older will buy via digital channels in 2013, according to eMarketer predictions. Around one in four of these will be German residents. This too is good news for ecommerce, as the German economy will likely remain one of the most stable in Europe, and consumers there should enjoy, on average, a higher level of disposable income than in most other markets.
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