Thursday, 12 March 2009

Online, cross-border: new report published

The European Commission has just published a new report on cross border trade in the EU which contains some interesting stats and information for fashion e-tailers thinking about wider European opportunities. Running at 75 pages, it isn't likely to be your bedtime reading of choice, but luckily you have Fashionista to tease out some of the juicy bits for you!
  • The overall the conclusion is that consumers are still not regularly purchasing items over the internet from other European countries. Some of this is down to personal-based decisions, for example language differences, the efficiency of different postal or payment systems and just familiarity and trust.

  • But it isn't just this, since 33% of EU consumers say they are willing to purchase goods and services in another language (good news for UK e-tailers given that English is so widely spoken as a second language in Europe).

  • It seems instead that many e-tailers simply aren't wanting to take orders from outside their own country and so impose the barriers themselves. Sometimes this is because of concerns about mulitiple jurisdictional compliance costs and tax management and the Commission is going to look into such barriers further.

  • 3/4 of all EU retailers only sell domestically but 1/3 of consumers said that they would consider buying from another country because a product was better or cheaper.

  • The UK maintains the second highest user or e-commerce services, pipped by Denmark and closely followed by The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Finland so you might want to start thinking about the potential of Nordic markets although another option is where the fastest growth appears to be happening in France, Italy and Spain.

  • Clothes and sports goods are the second most popular purchase (at 41%) after holidays and flights, with online retail sales for clothes and footwear totalling 7.3billion euros in their review period of 2002 to 2007.

  • Luxembourg, Cyprus, Malta, Denmark and Ireland feature as the most open to cross-border online shopping. The report notes that in smaller and/or insular countries, cross border e-commece has outpaced domestic e-commerce because there is less domestic competition.