The Best European Markets for E-Commerce Expansion in 2024

The Best European Markets for E-Commerce Expansion in 2024

Where in Europe should you expand your e-commerce business in 2024? Read our recommendations to find out.

The European e-commerce market is a landscape rich with opportunity, diversity, and potential for businesses looking to expand in 2024. With its varied consumer base, advanced technological infrastructure, and robust economic indicators, Europe presents fertile ground for e-commerce ventures. While there are e-commerce opportunities throughout Europe, in this article we will be focusing on the top destinations for businesses looking to expand their e-commerce operations in 2024.

The rise of E-commerce in Europe

Fueled by technological advancements and shifting consumer preferences, e-commerce has seen exponential growth in recent years, and nowhere has this been more evident than in Europe. With European consumers increasingly gravitating towards online platforms for their shopping needs, driven by the allure of convenience, choice, and competitive pricing, e-commerce revenue in Europe is now forecast to reach US$813.20 billion by 2029

Top European markets for e-commerce expansion

E-commerce is growing across Europe, but if you’re looking to expand into what is already a well-established market, the following countries are good options:


Germany stands as the economic titan of Europe, boasting a strong and stable economy. Its consumers are known for their preference for quality, efficiency, and reliability in online shopping. The German market is highly competitive, requiring businesses to offer top-notch customer service and high-quality products. Germany's advanced logistics and infrastructure make it an ideal location for e-commerce operations, facilitating easy distribution across Europe.

Population: 83.2 million  

Projected market volume by 2028: US$143,503.1 million

United Kingdom

The UK's e-commerce market is one of the most mature in Europe. British consumers are accustomed to online shopping, making the UK an attractive market for e-commerce businesses. And, it helps that the population speaks English, simplifying marketing and customer service efforts for international businesses. However, navigating the post-Brexit landscape requires a keen understanding of new regulations and trade agreements.

Population: 67.8 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$217,520.8 million


ecommerce in France

France is the third largest e-commerce market in Europe, after the UK and Germany, making it a key destination for those looking to expand their business. Its e-commerce sector is characterized by a strong digital infrastructure and an affluent consumer base with a growing appetite for online shopping. French consumers value luxury and high-quality products, presenting opportunities for niche and premium brands. 

Population: 64.8 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$90,784.4 million


The Netherlands is a hub for international trade, owing to its strategic location and excellent logistics network. Dutch consumers are highly connected and comfortable with digital transactions, making the Netherlands an appealing market for online retailers. The country's compact size and efficient distribution channels allow for easy scalability of e-commerce operations.

Population: 17.6 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$29,616.5 million


Spain's e-commerce market has shown significant growth, driven by an increase in digital connectivity and consumer confidence in online shopping. The Spanish market offers opportunities for e-commerce businesses in a number of areas, including fashion, home goods, and electronics. Understanding the cultural nuances and shopping habits of Spanish consumers is key to capturing this growing market.

Population: 47.4 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$48,955.1 million

Emerging e-commerce markets in Europe

If you’re looking to expand into an e-commerce market with plenty of unrealized potential, consider these countries:


ecommrce in Poland

Poland's rapidly growing economy and increasing internet penetration rate make it an attractive market for e-commerce businesses. Polish consumers are eager to embrace online shopping, offering a relatively untapped market for international e-commerce ventures. Companies entering the Polish market can benefit from its large, young, and tech-savvy population.

Population: 40.2 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$44,532.8 million


Sweden's market is distinguished by its high standard of living, technological literacy, and commitment to sustainability. Swedish consumers prioritize ethical and eco-friendly products, presenting opportunities for brands that align with these values. Sweden's mature e-commerce landscape demands innovative and high-quality offerings to captivate the discerning Swedish shopper.

Population: 10.6 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$18,683.8 million


Italy is experiencing a digital renaissance, with growing internet penetration and digital literacy among its population. The Italian market is ripe for e-commerce expansion, particularly in fashion, luxury goods, and gourmet food. Success in Italy requires an understanding of the country's rich cultural heritage and consumer preferences.

Population: 58.6 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$56,495 million


Belgium's e-commerce sector is characterized by a multilingual population with high purchasing power. The country’s geographic location makes it an ideal gateway for businesses looking to access other European markets. E-commerce ventures in Belgium must navigate its linguistic diversity by offering localized content in Dutch, French, and German.

Population: 11.7 million

Projected market volume by 2028: US$9,467.4 million

Factors to consider before expanding into Europe's e-commerce markets

When considering expansion into Europe's vibrant e-commerce landscape, businesses must navigate a multifaceted environment shaped by diverse legal, cultural, and economic factors. Understanding these nuances is not just beneficial but essential for achieving long-term success and sustainability in the European market. Below, we delve into each of these critical factors in more detail.

Legal and regulatory frameworks

Europe's legal and regulatory environment is both comprehensive and varied across its member states, necessitating a thorough understanding of local laws and EU-wide directives. Key areas to focus on include:

  • Data protection: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets strict guidelines on data privacy and protection, impacting how businesses collect, store, and process consumer information.
  • Consumer rights: The EU Consumer Rights Directive outlines specific protections for online shoppers, including the right to transparent information, a 14-day withdrawal period for online purchases, and protections against unfair terms.
  • E-commerce regulations: Compliance with the E-commerce Directive, which covers aspects like electronic contracts and the liability of online service providers, is crucial.
  • Taxation and VAT: Understanding the VAT rules for e-commerce sales, including the OSS (One-Stop-Shop) scheme for simplifying VAT obligations for cross-border sales, is essential.

Local payment preferences

Payment preferences vary significantly across Europe. The payment methods available include:

  • Credit and debit cards: While popular in many countries, their usage varies, and not all European consumers prefer them for online purchases.
  • E-wallets: Digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, and local variants are increasingly common, offering convenience and security.
  • Bank transfers: In some countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, direct bank transfers (e.g., SOFORT and iDEAL) are favored for their security and simplicity.
  • Cash on delivery: Still prevalent in Eastern European countries, offering this option can boost consumer trust and order completion rates.

Understanding and integrating these payment methods into your e-commerce platform can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and conversion rates.

Logistical hurdles

The efficiency of your logistics and distribution network directly impacts your ability to meet customer expectations for timely and reliable deliveries. Considerations include:

  • Delivery infrastructure: Assessing the existing delivery infrastructure and services in your target markets to ensure fast and cost-effective shipping.
  • Returns management: A straightforward and hassle-free returns process is crucial for customer satisfaction and loyalty, requiring efficient reverse logistics.
  • Cross-border challenges: Navigating customs, duties, and cross-border shipping regulations is vital for smooth operations in markets outside your home country.

Cultural and linguistic gaps

Europe's diversity extends to its cultures and languages, impacting consumer behavior, marketing strategies, and customer service:

  • Language localization: Offering your e-commerce site in the local language(s) can significantly improve user experience and engagement.
  • Cultural sensitivity: Understanding cultural nuances and preferences helps in tailoring marketing messages and product offerings to suit local tastes.
  • Customer service: Providing customer support in the local language and considering cultural expectations around service and communication enhances trust and loyalty.

Tailoring your business model

Addressing these factors requires tailoring your business model to fit the unique landscape of the European e-commerce market. This involves:

  • Adapting product offerings: Aligning your product range with local market demands and preferences.
  • Localized marketing: Developing marketing campaigns that resonate with local audiences, taking into account cultural norms and values.
  • Strategic partnerships: Collaborating with local partners can provide valuable insights and access to established distribution and marketing networks.



Expanding your e-commerce business into Europe in 2024 offers a world of opportunities. By carefully selecting your target markets, understanding local nuances, and leveraging the right technologies and strategies, your business can thrive in the dynamic European e-commerce landscape.

Do you need help with your VAT compliance? Book a free call with one of our VAT experts to find bespoke solutions for your business, optimize your VAT costs, and reach millions of new potential customers.


What makes Europe an attractive market for e-commerce expansion?

Europe offers a vast, affluent consumer base, high internet connectivity, and a stable regulatory environment, making it ideal for e-commerce.

How has consumer behavior in Europe shifted towards e-commerce?

Consumer behavior in Europe has significantly shifted towards e-commerce thanks to the convenience of online shopping. This shift has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the key factors to success in the European e-commerce market?

Understanding local consumer preferences, offering seamless online experiences, efficient logistics, and adherence to EU regulations are crucial for success.

How can businesses overcome the logistical challenges of expanding in Europe?

Businesses can navigate logistical hurdles by partnering with local logistics experts, optimizing supply chain management, and leveraging the EU's integrated logistics network.

April 18, 2024
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