Online sales are thriving in Belgium! According to a survey of 600 e-traders carried out by the Belgian e-commerce association BeCommerce, sales in the sector increased by about 25.7% in 2013, compared to 2012, bringing the volume of business to a record €1.9 billion. This is one of the highest growth rates in Europe. By way of comparison, French online sales increased by 13.5% for the same period and British online sales by 14%.
And optimism remains high for 2014
Those managers surveyed said they believed that optimism is key for 2014, with sales predicted to reach over €2 billion by the end of the year. Moreover, 56% of traders feel that the Internet will become their main sales channel. It its worth noting that in Belgium, according to the Walloon Telecommunications Agency (AWT), 55% of Internet users regularly make purchases online and 79% have already made an online purchase at least once in their life.
Among the levers for growth, international sales are well positioned. Although, in 2013, 59% of sales were made in Belgium, the survey shows that e-traders believe that in 2014 a larger portion of their sales will come from other European countries.
bpost delivers 6 out of every 10 orders in Belgium
A sign of this expansion is the fact that 90% of e-traders state that they will be recruiting staff. The e-commerce sector is growing and is set to expand even further as the uptake of mobile devices continues, notes BeCommerce. E-traders are now well placed to meet the needs of customers who order via smartphones and tablets, with 55% of them already offering their products via mobile.
The survey reveals that in 6 out of 10 cases, the average order amount exceeds €100. Products that are currently ‘in vogue’ include clothes (35%), interior décor (30%), computers (24%) and toys (23%). With regard to the last link in the chain, shipping, bpost continues to ship the majority of orders – almost 60% of them. A last growth trend is the withdrawal of packages and the use of automatic lockers. We will explain more over the coming weeks about this concept, which involves picking up online purchases or returning packages via secure, self-service lockers.