Bol.com is the big and famous online retailer for books, toys and electronics and surpasses Amazon in those fields in Holland.
Germany leads the way with most online stores in the EU
Germany is a bigger country than the UK so it seems logical and normal that they have more online stores there than over here. But it’s also worth noting that the UK has a more developed consumer culture and spends more by head of population online than any other country in the world. So it is perhaps quite surprising how many more online stores they have in Germany overall. See the chart below.
Across the EU there are currently 800k online stores operating. Of those 175,000 are in Germany, the number one country in Europe in terms of online stores. Second is the UK, where 108,000 online stores were active during the research period which lasted over the past month. Coming in as a surprising third place is the Netherlands with over 82,000 online shops.
So what is the story in the Netherlands? It’s a comparatively small country with 17 million residents (very much smaller than France which comes in further down the charts) but it has a tech savvy web literate population and eBay and Amazon haven’t managed to dominate the ecommerce scene there. Both firms were late to the party and that gave smaller retailers a chance to develop a toehold and prosper.
And the biggest online retailer in the Netherlands is Bol.com. The CEO of bol.com Huub Vermeulen says:”We achieved a turnover of 1.2 billion euros last year in Belgium and the Netherlands. That gives us a lot of potential for growth, although we are in an increasingly competitive market. Technology is changing and will continue to grow. These changes will result in other changes like the people who will use these technologies of tomorrow. I see many opportunities for the future and I look forward to putting them in place! We live in an exciting time. We have succeeded in making our webshop even more accessible by introducing same-day home delivery, Select subscription, evening and Sunday delivery, and continuous price reduction. We are following this path.”
And German distributors give additional discounts to retailers who export, at least in my sector, which means that German exporters can undercut domestic UK retailers (not because we’re tight with the margin – the Germans can sell to the UK for below UK trade in many cases).
It’s one of the many many reasons small business owners in my sector voted for Brexit.
I’m struggling to understand, how does leaving the EU change the situation you just described?