Borders still proving problematic for e-commerce

23 Jun 2008

Cross-border e-commerce activity in the EU has remained relatively static since 2006, despite an overall increase in e-commerce, a new survey has found.

The study showed that from 2006 to 2008, the amount of all EU consumers that have bought at least one item over the internet increased by 6pc from 27pc to 33pc, while cross-border e-commerce grew by only 1pc from 6pc to 7pc.

For those citizens with internet access at home, 56pc made a purchase (in any country including their own) by e-commerce compared to 50pc in 2006, while only 13pc made a cross-border e-commerce purchase compared to 12pc in 2006.

“These figures underline how much work we still have to do to boost confidence in the online internal market,” said European Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva. “Consumers and retailers are beginning to embrace e-commerce at national level but internal market barriers still persist online.

“The potential of the online internal market to deliver greater choice and lower price to consumers and new markets for retailers is considerable. We need to redouble our efforts to tackle the remaining borders.”

Just over half (51pc) of retailers in the EU sell via the internet but only 17pc of e-commerce revenue of those who sell cross-border stems from cross-border sales, up just slightly from 16pc in 2006.      

Over a third (37pc) of consumers said they would be more confident making online purchases from sellers/providers located in their own country, while 57pc said they are equally or even more confident making purchases online from sellers in another EU country. This latter figure is up by 8pc compared to the 2006 survey.

More than 26,000 consumers and 7,200 businesses in the EU and Norway were surveyed.

By Niall Byrne