Ecommerce sales in Western Europe leaped 26.3% in 2020, driven by digital buying during the pandemic. By contrast, total retail sales fell. For both consumers and retailers, the year brought a tremendous shock.
How has the pandemic affected retail sales in Western Europe?
Total retail sales suffered massively in 2020, as many consumers were in lockdown and physical stores selling nonessential goods closed for long periods. We expect that total retail sales in Western Europe fell by 3.6% in 2020, to €3.616 trillion ($4.049 trillion). Sales should bounce back to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, however.
How have regional shoppers’ attitudes and priorities changed in the wake of the pandemic?
Many people turned to online retailers when they couldn’t get to physical shops. In particular, more consumers bought food, cleaning products, and household items online than before; much of that increase will be sustained. Consumers have also become more aware of the importance of local merchants and sustainable product sourcing.
Is Amazon still gaining traction in Western Europe?
Yes, Amazon was one of the biggest winners during the pandemic, as a go-to supplier when local stores were closed or out of stock. But many leading national and regional retailers also launched ecommerce initiatives to help consumers and smaller merchants get through the crisis.
What are the most important learnings from 2020 for retailers and brands?
More than ever, consumers want retailers and brands to act transparently, and responsibly, and provide practical solutions—whether that means maintaining affordable prices, offering new delivery options, supporting local stores, or making their own operations more eco-friendly.
WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report summarizes our latest forecasts for retail and retail ecommerce sales in Western Europe and explores several key trends shaping both online and offline retail in the region in 2021.
KEY STAT: Largely as a result of the pandemic, retail ecommerce sales in Western Europe jumped by 26.3% in 2020, to €481.54 billion ($539.18 billion). But ecommerce growth will be minimal in 2021, as physical retail will recover to some degree.
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