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EU cross-border e-commerce market hits €137 billion in 2018

Cross-Border Commerce Europe has released a piece of research covering and ranking the 500 strongest European players with a focus on cross-border e-commerce performance.

Total online EU cross-border market represents a turnover of €95 billions in 2018 (excluding travel).

The analysis arose from a simple observation: there are currently no European cross-border figures that measure performance of cross-border retailers headquarted in Europe. Cross-border e-commerce is defined as a purchase in an online store that is located in another country and jurisdiction.

The goal of the research is to provide up to date information and stimulate online cross-border sales within the European Union.

In 2018 Cross-border e-commerce revenues (including travel) reached €137 billions in Europe; an increase of 13.2% compared to 2017. The cross-border share of total online sales in Europe (EU16) is 22.8%.

Cross-border trade (excluding travel) amounts to €95 billions in 2018 with the following distribution: 55% is generated by players from within the European Union and 45% by retailers from outside the EU.

Within the EU16, € 36 billions are generated by the Top 500 Cross-Border Retail Europe “made in Europe”, of which 24.7% comes from “marketplaces”. The share of “Pure Players” is 40% and half of it is located in the category “fashion, jewelry and baby”.

Within retailers outside the European Union, 80% of cross-border sales are generated through ‘marketplaces’ with Amazon leading with € 32 billions sales.

European players in the cross-border online sales build pan-European brands. They are ambitious, think globally but adjust themselves locally where needed.

23.6% of Europeans appreciate the convenience of cross-border eCommerce and asks the decision-makers in the Commission and the European Parliament to further simplify tax and cross-border rules. Despite Brexit, they strongly believe in a promising future for cross-border e-commerce in Europe.


The research is a major compilation of cross-border data from websites of European retailers. Ranking is obtained by weighting four primary parameters:

  • Online cross-border sales in Europe (16 countries within Western Europe and Scandinavia)
  • SEO-indicators covering cross-border performance
  • Cross-border score determined on the amount of active countries
  • Amount and percentage of cross-border visitors

There are six additional secondary weighted parameters that fine tune the ranking:

  • Brand authority
  • Organic search percentage
  • Number of languages
  • Number of currencies
  • Number of payment methods
  • Local supply availability (transport and stock services)

Based on the above mentioned methodology, the Top 10 “Elite” retailers for 2018 are:

  • Top 1: Zalando
  • Top 2: Ikea
  • Top 3: H&M
  • Top 4: Zara
  • Top 5: Nespresso
  • Top 6: Pandora
  • Top 7: Thomann
  • Top 8: Jack & Jones
  • Top 9: Vivino
  • Top 10: Swarovski

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