5 new web stores every day

E-commerce in Belgium is booming. Last year, online sales were up 17%. For this year, BeCommerce (the Belgian federation of web stores) expects an increase of 15%. Currently, there are 5,000 Belgian web stores, which represents a considerable lag compared to the 22,000 web stores in the Netherlands.

“Belgium has never been a typical mail order country. So, we are not very familiar with online sales. And we must learn that. A Dutchman or a German who wants to purchase a pair of shoes on the Internet, for instance, immediately orders three pairs, in three different sizes. Then, he just returns the two pairs that do not fit, without any scruples. That is what online sales are about. Belgians still have to learn how it all works, what are the rules of the game, etc.

The fact that e-commerce is running behind in Belgium has actually nothing to do with consumers. It is rather the supply side that runs behind. It has been a while since Belgian consumers have found their way to foreign web stores, in the Netherlands and France. So there definitely is a demand. But from the supply side, there still are lots of possibilities”, says Marc Périn from BeCommerce.

Some trends for 2010

1. Every day, more and more products are purchased online.

2. An increase from the supply side will result in about 6,000 web stores at the end of 2010. Regular retailers will also focus more and more on e-commerce. E-commerce becomes “part of our daily life”.

3. Some changes in the law are necessary to stimulate e-commerce.