Europe Ecommerce Report Shows Marketplace Growth, Key Trends

Joanna Perry

November 16, 2020

Markets across the world have borne the burdens of the Covid-19 pandemic, and where that is especially apparent is in the European market.

Europe’s retail industry has struggled significantly during 2020. However, the pandemic has also been a catalyst for online sales, pushing European shoppers in more mature markets to buy online more than ever and shoppers in less mature markets to buy online for the first time. Brands that don’t already have eyes on Europe should pay attention—its online shopping audience competes only with China in size.

A new report from Pattern’s European team showcases the effects of the pandemic on the market, the biggest winners, and what US brands already in the European market or looking to join the European market should know.

European shopper habits in 2020

Across the board, European shoppers are spending more time shopping online. In Western and Northern Europe, e-shopping penetration rates are the highest, while in Eastern and Southern Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, more shoppers are trying online shopping for the first time in a trend we anticipate will stick.

While we don’t yet have a complete view of the year, the following snapshot of data hints at the level of penetration across markets in 2020: in the UK, the percentage of grocery shopping bought online rose from 7% of the total in February 2020 to 13.5% of the total in July 2020.

Ecommerce in Europe Profile | Pattern EU Report

The direct-to-consumer shift

Brands within and outside of Europe are taking notice of D2C trends. According to Lego Director for Ecommerce Strategy & Growth Kasper Thams, “Europe has a much more fragmented offline retail landscape, and many of the strong offline players are moving online.”

A trend we’re seeing this year is that brands are placing more focus on their direct-to-consumer websites rather than third-party online or omnichannel retailers. These sites are being used to complement existing channels rather than compete with them.

The rise of marketplaces in Europe

One of the most noteworthy trends we’re seeing in 2020 is the rise in popularity of online marketplaces. Compared to the US or China, Europe has been slower to take to marketplaces, but they’re becoming an increasingly important online route of entry for brands across the globe attempting to get a slice of the European market.

In the past few years, and especially in 2020, online marketplaces in Europe have attracted significant traffic and seen high visitor engagement that has translated into sales. They accounted for 59% of the 143 billion euros spent on cross-border ecommerce by Europeans in 2019, according to Cross-Border Commerce Europe.

While Thams doesn’t believe marketplaces will become as dominant in Europe as they’ve become in the US and China, he does believe brands need to get the formula right for their other channels or they’ll miss out on the coming ecommerce growth. The marketplace brands should be looking at especially close is Amazon.


During lockdown, European consumers turned to Amazon en masse for their shopping due to its convenience, delivery, and prices. There are nearly 300 million unique visitors on Amazon’s six main European sites each month, and the platform’s traffic has risen in every European market during 2020, with visits up by 17% in the UK and 9% in Germany between March and August 2020. Amazon is estimated to have a circa 30% share of the UK and Germany ecommerce markets.

Amazon Growth in Europe | Pattern EU Report

Amazon’s fulfillment capabilities—particularly its next-day delivery—and its ability to offer in-demand goods at consistently lower prices than competitor retailers has been central to its success in the region. During lockdown, top selling categories on the platform ranged from Consumer Electronics, Toys & Games, Health & Beauty, and Home & Kitchen, all reflecting the “stay-at-home” shift.

At Pattern, we’ve seen similarly high numbers with our own Amazon brands in the region. There is significant interest in Amazon as a sales channel from brands in less digitally mature markets. With the imminent launch of the marketplace in Poland and Sweden, we anticipate Amazon’s market share within Europe will continue to grow.

Snapshots of the top three European markets in 2020

1. United Kingdom

The UK has a population of 68 million, and 87% of the population bought online in October. Online sales in August were up 43.5% year over year in the country. Since lockdown measures began in March in the UK, there’s been a huge shift toward online channels and sales have been sustained in the country., eBay, and Argos are the top three shopping sites by traffic. Omnichannel retailers also saw online sales rise 70.5% year over year in the UK, partly because many retailers launched Covid-secure click-and-collect services to get around slow delivery times.

Ecommerce in the United Kingdom Profile | Pattern EU Report

2. Germany

Germany has Europe’s largest online shopping audience and presents a significant sales opportunity for brands, especially as the German economy has suffered less than others in 2020.

The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of retail in Germany at every level. All of the top three shopping sites in Germany are marketplaces, with Amazon once again retaining the number one spot, and marketplaces accounted for at least 40% of German online sales even before the pandemic.

Ecommerce in Germany Profile | Pattern EU Report

3. France

France is another mature marketplace in Europe that’s seen heightened competition on sites like Amazon and eBay due to retail closures. It’s estimated that retail ecommerce sales in France will rise by 17.1% by the end of the year, with the increase driven by the nation’s strict lockdown restrictions in comparison to other European markets.

Ecommerce in France Profile | Pattern EU Report

How Pattern can get you into Europe

Higher ecommerce penetration rates are here to stay in the European market, but with the rise of online marketplaces in Europe, and particularly Amazon, retailers and brands must differentiate through the customer experience they provide on the websites if they want these channels to deliver incremental sales.

Success in the region requires a balancing act of multiple online channels to service customers. That’s where Pattern comes in.

Pattern operates from ten locations globally in the ecommerce space. We connect you with teams on the ground who have the resources and technology to get you into the market and help you provide a stellar ecommerce customer service experience.

To learn more about international ecommerce and how your brand can flourish in the ecommerce space, contact us using the form below.

To access our full EU Ecommerce findings, download the report here.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.