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The European Commission has been recently robust on efforts to push cross-border online shopping between the EU members. It initiated a number of surveys to evaluate the state of cross-border B2C E-Commerce and the factors which prevent it from booming, and promised to make an amended proposal on harmonization of EU rules concerning online purchases. Cross-border online shopping is one of the pillars of the promoted Digital Single Market Strategy for the EU. Its recently updated version stipulates that consumers in the EU could save EUR 11.7 billion annually if they could choose from a full variety of goods and services offered in the EU online.

Cross-border B2C E-Commerce is already more intense between the EU countries than between EU member states and the rest of the world. And yet, the Commission’s concern is that it is not growing fast enough. The share of online shoppers in the EU who bought products online from another EU country increased by mere three percentage points between 2013 and 2014, reaching nearly 30%. Online shoppers in smaller markets, such as Cyprus, Malta, and Luxembourg are especially active in buying across the borders. However, the top destination for online shoppers in the region’s two largest B2C E-Commerce market, the UK and Germany, is the United States. In both countries, the primary motivation for online shoppers to buy from overseas is availability of product or brand. In the Netherlands, the leading cross-border online shopping destination is China.

And yet, cross-border B2C E-Commerce within the EU has a great potential. The above mentioned Germany and the UK are popular targets of cross-border online shoppers around the world, including the EU. The figures for Spain also show that the EU accounts for a dominant share both of its E-Commerce exports and imports. Once the major barriers to cross-border online shopping, such as high delivery and return costs, are overcome, the European Commission dream of the Digital Single Market could come true.

To learn more about the state of cross-border B2C E-Commerce in Europe and worldwide, see our report “Europe Cross-Border B2C E-Commerce 2015” here.

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