Why Europe is a hot spot for US eBay sellers
If you’re an American eBay merchant selling in the USA, you already sell on a marketplace with a big sales potential. But in today’s globalized world, this is just the beginning.
What could be your next stop? Europe.
Many Europeans order products online from abroad and also love American brands. Additionally, as many trends gravitate over to Europe from the USA, America is perceived as a special online shopping destination.
Thus, you’re likely to come across millions of extra online buyers interested in your product.
Selling on eBay Europe can help you instantly grow your sales. Learn more why it pays off to sell online in Europe!
International ecommerce in Europe is on the rise
Ecommerce in Europe is expected to be worth 717 billion euros at the end of 2020 (12.7% increase compared to last year). Western Europe is still the most developed ecommerce market in Europe and has the highest share of online shoppers.
However, a big ecommerce sales growth can be observed in different parts of the continent, e.g. the Polish Allegro is the fourth largest online marketplace in Europe.
Furthermore, international ecommerce is gaining more and more appeal in Europe. One of the recent events driving cross border trading is Brexit. Since the referendum there’s been an overall increase in retail sales on European markets.
With Brexit becoming reality, keep your eyes wide open. If the UK is no longer part of the tariff-free trade zone, European buyers can expect much higher costs when ordering from Britain. It may make more sense for them to order from other EU countries, but also from other continents.
Interestingly, many EU marketplaces lag behind the UK digitally and have a relatively limited product availability. When the UK becomes a more expensive non-EU online shopping destination, Europeans will be more open for other digitally-advanced marketplaces, such as the USA.
Among other factors contributing to the growing sales potential in Europe are the increasing number of young shoppers and the widespread use of mobile devices. The impact of Covid-19 seems obvious, too. Despite the general volatility of the current environment, the coronavirus pandemic seems to have put ecommerce at the forefront of retail.
During challenging times, such as the current pandemic, selling on international markets often allows sellers to balance the sales between markets, spread their risk and make the most of diversification.
However, due to the lockdown and social distancing, consumer behavior related to cross-border ecommerce imports differs depending on the stage of the pandemic in each market.
If the country is within the peak of the outbreak, a slowdown of cross-border imports can be expected. It’s important for international merchants to try to minimize potential shipping delays and keep their clients informed. Reliable parcel tracking tools and simple return options should also help in reassuring buyers.
Europe loves ecommerce & American brands
Ecommerce transactions, including international ones, are rising due to the growing confidence among consumers to buy online.
According to Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 43% of shoppers now feel more positive about shopping online; almost 40% of consumers report that they’re more comfortable with digital technology than before lockdown.
The top European marketplaces have high and diverse purchasing power. The population of Europe is 834,995,197 and Internet users amount to 727,848,547. Internet penetration in Europe is high (almost 90%).
It should be relatively easy to find suitable audiences for your products and brands. In fact, your products can be found by millions of extra consumers.
There’s already a lot of proof for the openness for cross-border transactions in Europe. For example, KW Commerce is an online seller based in Berlin but it’s also the top Amazon seller in Italy.
The best bit:
Europeans, online shopping enthusiasts, love American brands. According to a report from NetBase, the most loved brand in Europe is Apple, followed by Google. But Europeans love smaller brands “made in America”, too.
The bottom line:
The general cross-border trade trend, Brexit, the impact of Covid-19 on ecommerce and the popularity of American brands are all positive indicators for American online sellers trading in Europe.
One of the most important European markets for US eBay sellers is Germany. The country’s geographical location is a major hub for delivery efficiency helping you sell across Europe.
About one third of the leading US ecommerce retailers were planning to enter the German market in the next four years, according to the “Internationalizing Your Brand in 2017” study commissioned by Arvato and conducted by the Worldwide Business Research Digital Agency. The Benelux countries, France and Italy are also top targets.
As Frank Schirrmeister, CEO at Arvato SCM Solutions, says:
Europe is one of the largest and most dynamic ecommerce markets in the world. US brands, therefore, need to actively improve their reputations in Europe.”
Selling on eBay Europe: common mistakes
Selling in Europe brings big sales potential, but also challenges non-existent in the USA. For starters, some American sellers assume that the EU is one big market. They may expect uniform consumer habits, similar to America’s.
But consider this:
- A fast food enthusiast in the US is a different consumer from the one in southern Italy, where cooking is an art.
- German buyers often compare offerings across competitors, but Spaniards tend to respond more to spontaneous and emotionally driven marketing approaches.
- In the English-speaking UK, with no apparent language barrier, your product may be named differently. For example, in the USA you’ll come across “oven mitts”, but in the UK “oven gloves”.
In other words:
There is a lot of variety. Europe consists of about 50 countries that speak different languages, have various legal requirements as well as their own buying and payment preferences.
To illustrate this further, debit/credit cards or PayPal are widely adopted, but, for instance in the Netherlands, many consumers prefer to pay with a payment method called iDEAL. One in three online customers in German-speaking countries prefers payment by invoice. It may also be too early to offer services, such as ApplePay or Samsung Pay on many European markets.
In terms of legal requirements, the EU is working hard at implementing standardization to facilitate cross-border business, e.g. geoblocking regulations. However, there are still differences at national level.
To make your international expansion into Europe easier, check out this comprehensive guide about VAT in Europe.
Will it be easy to sell online in Europe?
It won’t happen by itself but a hassle-free expansion into Europe is definitely possible for US eBay sellers.
To start with: competition. There are 25 million eBay sellers around the globe and 7 million are US eBay sellers. With so many eBay sellers in the USA you can expect more ecommerce competition.
Ecommerce markets in Europe, in turn, are smaller and many of them can offer significantly lower competition.
Further, in Europe the biggest online stores are accountable for a big part of ecommerce revenue. These big stores, however, are only a fraction of the total stores online. Most European online stores are small shops with many selling no more than six products.
A large number of European online stores seem to be hobby projects (often self-made products). They help sellers generate some extra income, on top of their daily jobs. Many markets aren’t saturated yet, which means that there’s still a lot of potential in Europe in various ecommerce categories, for example on marketplaces such as eBay.
Reach European eBay buyers
It’s a pity that internationalization seems to be a daunting prospect for so many American sellers. Granted, Europe means cultural differences on many (ecommerce) levels. There are language and cultural barriers, different consumer expectations / market characteristics, higher shipping costs, local taxes and different currencies and laws.
But there’s good news, too.
With today’s technology, it can take just a few clicks to launch your eBay store in Europe.
So make it simple. First, research which market offers the best sales potential for your product. Then consider automatic solutions that will take care of all aspects of preparing your eBay store for growing international sales.
Europe is a great destination for many American eBay sellers. Europeans treat the USA as a special online shopping destination and are keen on American brands.
Some American brands set up shops in flagship EU locations where the rent is higher. However, this is not as lucrative a solution as it could be in the case of selling on eBay. Not to mention the current reality of lockdowns and brick-and-mortar store closures due to the Covid-19.
Hence, consider launching your eBay store on European markets. Ecommerce localization is the next step.
This easy part is usually seen as too complex by many American sellers, which is a pity. Ecommerce localization can take just a few clicks and bring tons of extra revenue for you!
Webinterpret supports merchants selling on big, international ecommerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon as well more local marketplaces, such as Cdiscount.
Our marketplace offer is constantly expanding so if you want to grow your online sales, feel free to contact our sales experts. They will help you analyze your international sales potential and choose markets that will offer you the best possible return on investment.
Ready for 2020? Plan your sales with our Ecommerce Calendar!