Consumer behavior rapidly changed after the onset of COVID-19, and the preference for what to buy online and what not to vary by country.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and enforced restrictions in Europe, the retail market experienced significant changes, namely, digitization of operations in 2020. Many businesses in the region decided to invest in E-Commerce. So, in 2020, the revenue of top European online retailers witnessed a considerable growth of about 40% from 2019, with the fastest-growing being specialist merchants VanMoof and Fenton. The major markets in the region as well have seen tremendous developments in the online retail market, as the UK saw over a 30% y-o-y growth in 2020 and remains the leader in Europe in terms of B2C E-Commerce sales. In 2021, the market share of B2C E-Commerce in the UK is expected to reach almost a third of total retail sales. Another advanced market, Germany, had its B2C E-Commerce market increased by more than 20% y-o-y in 2020. And in the global rank, by its value, Germany was estimated to be the sixth compared to other countries in 2021. In Spain, sales values peaked in Q4 2020, however, compared to the same period the previous year, the increase was moderate at just 9%. Furthermore, a considerable part of overall B2C E-Commerce sales value in Spain was for transactions from Spain to abroad. With regard to popular product segments when shopping online, in most markets of Europe clothes, shoes & accessories and electronics were commonly ranked as the top categories in 2020. For instance, in the UK, over half of respondents on average purchased clothing, shoes and accessories items online in 2020. In Germany, however, the fashion & accessories segment went down to second place, following consumer electronics that in 2020 accounted for almost a quarter of total online sales. Appliances and technology was the top product category preferred among the consumers to be purchased online in the future, followed by apparel and beauty & cosmetics, according to an October 2020 survey. Technology/communication, entertainment/culture and food were the top 3 product categories purchased online in Spain, as per a June 2021 survey cited in the report. In Russia, the preference for the product segment varied depending on the type of purchase: when shopping online locally, consumers opted for buying consumer electronics, with clothes & footwear being the second choice, whereas when purchasing cross-border, clothes & footwear dominated and the share of consumer electronics decreased.