9. May 2024

6th Edition of the “TOP 500 B2C Cross-Border Retail Europe”


Brussels – 2nd May 2024 – Cross-Border Commerce Europe, a leading platform fostering cross-border e-commerce throughout Europe, has released a comprehensive research paper. This annual report ranks the top 500 European e-commerce players, focusing on their cross-border performance. In 2023, the total online EU cross-border market reached €237 billion (excluding travel), marking a 32% increase year-on-year. 

European webshops achieved €107 billion in cross-border turnover, while the B2C online turnover for goods in Europe saw a 13% increase, reaching €741 billion. In this sixth edition, IKEA continues to lead in the “TOP 500 Cross-Border Retail Europe”, a study supported by FedEx Express and Poste Italiane.

The Cross-Border TOP 500 report highlights a decrease in turnover, underperforming amidst an unstable macroeconomic environment, logistical challenges and intense competition from US and emerging Chinese brands such as Shein and TEMU. The GMV of the TOP 500 saw an 18% decline to €50 billion in 2023.

The rankings are derived by evaluating four primary parameters:

Online cross-border sales from 15 Western European countries, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom
SEO indicators reflecting cross-border performance
Cross-border score based on the number of active countries
The proportion and number of cross-border visitors
This ranking is further refined by seven secondary weighted parameters: brand authority, organic search traffic, linguistic diversity, currency options, payment methods, local logistics and marketplace functionality.

TOP 500 Key Findings

TOP 10: Based on the above-mentioned methodology, the TOP 10 “Elite” European etailers for 2023 are:

TOP 2: Zalando
TOP 3: H&M
TOP 4: Lego
TOP 5: Zara
TOP 6: Jysk
TOP 7: Lidl
TOP 8: Decathlon
TOP 9: Adidas
TOP 10: Notino
These top 10 entities represent 19% of the TOP 500’s total sales, with IKEA achieving €5.2 billion in cross-border turnover.

The UK’s cross-border sales have fallen to a historical low of -1.8%, resulting in €27.5 billion, a slight decrease from €28 billion in 2022. The challenges include Brexit-related VAT regulations, import duties and logistics complexities. Consequently, Germany has now surpassed the UK as the leading cross-border market in Europe.

TOP 500 sectors and product categories

There is a noticeable shift within the TOP 500, with an 8% increase in brand manufacturers such as Lego, Nespresso, Adidas and Philips enhancing their direct-to-consumer channels. Despite these changes, pure players and marketplaces remain stable, holding 42% of the TOP 500. Fashion, jewellery and footwear continue to dominate with a 39% share, followed by home, garden and DIY products at 13.3%.

The TOP 500 European marketplaces are losing ground to American and new Chinese contenders, including marketplaces and social media apps, unable to match the scale and agility of these emerging giants.

How are Chinese marketplaces conquering the western e-commerce market? In an unprecedented push, China is expanding its marketplaces and platforms across Europe to circumvent regional competitors more aggressively than ever. Some insights and recommendations for struggling European B2C marketplaces:
The falling stock prices of listed companies such as Zalando, ASOS, Farfetch, Boohoo and Yoox highlight the challenges they face in competing with Asian sellers.
Brexit has further impacted the cross-border activities of Asos and Farfetch, exacerbating their struggles.
Conversely, Decathlon, a sports retail chain, has successfully cultivated a loyal customer base. The platform’s primary strength lies in its deep understanding of local consumer preferences, reflected in its bespoke offerings and customer-centric services.
Faced with aggressive pricing and an overwhelming array of products from Chinese e-commerce platforms, European companies must prioritise quality, reliable delivery times, community engagement and localised services. These elements are crucial for maintaining a strong position in their respective markets amidst fierce competition.
The influence of Shein on major European fast fashion retailers such as Inditex (Zara) and H&M appears to be significant, yet these companies are holding their ground. Zara’s strategy of closing underperforming stores aligns with broader industry trends, similar to those adopted by H&M. Inditex is focusing on enhancing its digital and hybrid offerings while expanding its more successful outlets, showing resilience against the rising Chinese influence.
Social Commerce platforms like TikTok Shop and Instagram are not just trends; they represent the most significant market disruption since the advent of the Internet. It is imperative for European sellers to embrace social commerce to remain competitive in the evolving retail landscape.

“I would like to extend my warm thanks to our market research team and our partners, FedEx Express and Poste Italiane, for their support in establishing this new ranking. It highlights the leading European players in cross-border e-commerce and stimulates the entire retail industry,” concludes Carine Moitier, Founder of CBCommerce.eu.

infographic top 500 2024

Original article

Image source: cbcommerce.eu