Ranked third in the global Logistical Performance Index, Belgium is a small but enthusiastic e-commerce market, located in a highly accessible part of Europe. Ecommerce Europe’s latest report, sponsored by Asendia, examines the Belgian e-commerce market’s tremendous growth and local shopping preferences, revealing its promise to cross-border retailers.
The share of e-commerce in Belgium’s GDP has more than doubled since 2010, now accounting for 2.01% of total GDP. Consumer confidence may be low, but the number of e-shoppers is still growing each year, amounting to 74% of the total population. Incredibly, B2C e-commerce grew by 34.2% year-on-year in 2015, demonstrating how this established market still holds untapped potential.
If you are an online retailer looking to expand into Belgium, also consider its attitude to m-commerce. Smartphone usage is growing rapidly in Belgium (55% of adults have a smartphone) and mobile sales totalled €969m last year (12% of total online sales).
Belgian e-shoppers tend to buy cross-border because of appealing offers, better conditions, and better availability - 31% have bought clothes and 30% have bought entertainment items (such as books and CDs) from a foreign retailer. Credit cards are by far the most popular payment method, followed by Bancontact, so make sure you offer these to your customers in Belgium.
It’s also a good idea to carefully think about the languages you offer on the Belgian version of your website: French, Dutch, and German are the three official languages, but it’s important to consider that many products sold in the Netherlands may be named differently in the Flemish (Dutch-speaking) region of Belgium. In addition, English, Italian, and Spanish are also commonly spoken in the country, so think about offering these as secondary language options.
These are just a few of the facts and tips offered by the report, which also features insight from Ellen Kop, E-commerce Manager Benelux & Nordics at Asendia.
The Belgium B2C E-commerce Report 2016 is an ideal starting point to getting to know this market; download the free light report here.