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Overview of E-commerce in Netherlands

The Netherlands is a small country. Nonetheless, it always tries to play a significant role, be it economically, politically or in sports. The country is well known for its highly open economy, inclined heavily towards international trade. There are several e-commerce events which take place in Netherlands throughout the year. Hence, it is important for online retailer to know about the best marketplaces in Netherlands.

Economy review
The Netherlands is home to 17.02 million people with a total GDP of 777.23 billion USD and GDP per capita of 45,756 USD, which is expected to reach 50,549 USD by 2022.

Internet penetration & device usage
Internet penetration in the Netherlands is currently 87.7%, and should reach 89.1% by 2022. Smartphone penetration is a little less (73.6%), but is projected to grow to 84.7% in the next four years.
86% of online shoppers in the Netherlands buy via desktop, a stark contrast to the amount of smartphone (3%) and tablet (8%) shoppers.

Preferred products categories
The most popular product categories in Dutch e-commerce are travel & tickets (38.96%), followed by telecommunication (12.82%), consumer electronics (7.84%), computer hardware & software (7.57%), clothing and shoes (7.48%) and media (6.36%).

Preferred payment methods
The Dutch like to pay with iDeal, an online payment method developed by the Dutch banking community. Among the other popular online payment methods in the Netherlands are PayPal, MasterCard and VISA. Popular post-payment methods are After Pay, accept transfer and Klarna.

Preferred social media
67% of people in the Netherlands are active on social media. The leading social networks are Whatsapp, Facebook and YouTube.

Where does the Netherlands buy from?
The leading supplier in Netherlands is Germany, with $ 86.6 billion. Other key import partners are China ($ 57.4 billion), Belgium ($ 44.7 billion), the United States ($ 39.7 billion) and Russia ($ 29.3 billion).

Top online stores in Netherlands

Top 1. bol.com
Website: https://www.bol.com/nl/
Among the biggest online retailers in the Netherlands, three of them are Dutch. Although Bol.com started as a project from Bertelsmann, it became a real Dutch e-commerce player after the German retail group didn’t see much benefit from it anymore. Daniel Ropers (the Germany-born Dutch consultant who was linked to Bol.com as he was a member of the McKinsey & Company team that helped Bertelsmann with starting Bol.com) found some private equity investors and managed to turn Bol.com into an online warehouse that sells more than just books and DVDs. In May 2012, Bol.com was acquired by retail group Ahold, best known for its subsidiary Albert Heijn. With regards to the product range, bol.com is an all-round online store, with products on offer that cover a broad variety of categories.

Top 2. coolblue.nl
Website: https://www.coolblue.nl/
Coolblue started in 2000 with just one simple online store: mp3man.nl (which later became mp3shop.nl). Soon after the first launch, the Rotterdam-based company started opening more online stores that focus on one product category. The company opened its first physical store in 2005, after which it put more focus on the brand “Coolblue”, by slowly placing less emphasis on the different store names. Nowadays, the company sells mostly consumer electronics, white goods and fitness equipment. Coolblue is well-known for its customer service. The company puts much effort in making customers happy and gets many compliments for it humor, which for example can be seen in the text they put on their packaging.

Top 3. wehkamp.nl
Website: https://www.wehkamp.nl/
Wehkamp is one of the oldest online retailers in the Netherlands. It started as a mail-order company in 1952 and introduced an order system in 1985, which let customers place orders by telephone through a voice-response system. Ten years later, in 1995, Wehkamp launched its own website and even before the new millennium started, the Dutch company sold all of its ten thousand articles through its e-commerce platform. Since then, Wehkamp was seen as a true Internet pioneer, although it developed itself quite slow, in comparison with fast-operating competitors such as Bol.com and Coolblue. But recently, Wehkamp is investing a lot to stay in the top of the Dutch e-commerce industry. In 2018, it started building its second distribution center.

The rest of the top 10 online stores in the Netherlands
In Europe, Zalando is a well-known fashion e-commerce company, which often can be found in the local top 10 lists of biggest online retailers. Albert Heijn Online is the online version of Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn, just like Bol.com. The company started selling groceries online in 2001 and is now the biggest online supermarket in the Netherlands. Amazon ranks fifth, a place it’s not familiar with if you look at its position in other European countries. In 2017, Swedish fashion retailer H&M ended on a seventh place, followed by Dutch company Van Dijk Educatie, which sells school textbooks online. The top ten of online stores in the Netherlands is completed by German electronics retailer MediaMarkt and Nextail, the e-commerce branch of Blokker Holding.

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