Belgium and Netherlands

Belgium & Netherlands    Sponsored by cross-border passport sponsored by Spring Global Mail

Here is a brief overview of the Belgium & Netherlands eCommerce Markets.

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With a combined population of 28 million people, 11.5 million households and combined GDP of €1.08trn and English spoken widely, the Netherlands and Belgium offer an attractive market to international merchants looking to expand into new territories.

Both countries have good underlying infrastructure with globally renowned ports and airports and excellent road and rail connections with the rest of Europe. Placed on the edge of continental Europe but with a history of international trade, both markets are used to trading with their neighbours and international partners.

Belgium and the Netherlands (together with Luxembourg) are often collectively viewed as Benelux but although combined as a trading region for the purposes of this report, Belgium and the Netherlands are two very different countries.

Country Profiles

cross-border eCommerce in Belgium

eCommerce in Belgium

The Belgian online retail market is at an earlier stage of development and consequently has a lower overall value. However, at an estimated €, it is a market with plenty of potential, particularly for international merchants. Two key factors make this increasingly likely; internet penetration is increasing as is the number of users. GfK reported in 2015 that over 6.5 million Belgians are shopping online every quarter and Insight Consulting expect 28% to spend more this year over 2015.

cross-border eCommerce sales in Belgium
cross-border eCommerce in the Netherlands

eCommerce in the Netherlands

Data from CBS, the Dutch national statistics office, indicates that average growth of online shopping in the first quarter of 2016 was around 20%. With the number of Dutch consumers regularly shopping online remaining fairly static (around 59% of the population), this dataset from CBS would indicate that the overall value of the shopping basket is increasing, and doing so strongly. So, whilst the market in the Netherlands appears to be more developed that others in the EU, there is growth in the number of online shoppers, frequency of online purchasing and in the value of their spend.

Looking forward, research by is estimating that the Dutch market will be worth €9.42bn in 2016, increasing to over €13bn by 2020 based on a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.22%.

cross-border eCommerce sales in the Netherlands


Both Belgium and the Netherlands have a developed mobile marketplace and high levels of smartphone adoption. Mobile penetration in Belgium is around 112% according to and in the Netherlands it is over 120% (mGage 2015).

cross-border eCommerce sales in Belgium and the Netherlands

Internet Connectivity

In terms of internet connectivity, Belgium ranks slightly below the EU 27 average in 2015 at 83% whilst the Dutch are nearly the highest at 96%, second only to Luxembourg. By way of comparison, the UK has penetration levels of around 90% and Germany, the next most developed ecommerce market in the EU after the UK, is at 89%.

This article provides a snapshot of the full overview – download the full overview to start planning your cross-border strategy.

The full country guide provides detail on the following areas:

  • Marketing - popular marketing channels and approaches, including data on shopper behaviour across devices
  • Optimising customer experience - What do retailers need to know about customer behaviour and preferences?
  • Legal framework & regulation - a summary of the key legislation and trading requirements online retailers need to be aware of
  • Finance & payments - how do shoppers in the two countries prefer to pay for purchases?
  • Logistics & delivery - what fulfilment options are available and what do shoppers expect from the delivery experience?

Download Country Guide

Areas of Interest

We have broken down each guide into key areas of interest.
Marketing to Belgian / Netherlands shoppers

Marketing to Belgian / Netherlands shoppers

Marketing and Branding

This section explores the most popular and effective marketing mechanisms in Belgium & Netherlands. more


BeCommerce is the Belgian association of firms engaged in distance selling via the internet and by extension, all forms of eCommerce. more
Spring Global Delivery Solutions

Spring Global Delivery Solutions

Spring Global Delivery Solutions provide mail, parcel and return solutions to businesses worldwide. more

Expert Insights

Insight articles, country guide features, latest event news and more...
More Insights

2020 Vision: Spring provides route to ‘Destination Benelux’

With more than 28 million citizens between them, Belgium and the Netherlands are among the fastest-growing eCommerce markets when it comes to cross-border purchases meaning that they have rocketed up the rankings for attractiveness to retailers. more

How can online retailers earn trust in Belgium?

Belgium’s online presence is growing year after year and with a growing healthy appetite for cross-border purchases, what should online retailers take into account if they are to enter Belgium’s eCommerce market? more

Delivery preference of Dutch and Belgian online shoppers

Dutch and Belgian consumers are increasingly buying their goods online, but they differ in how they want those goods delivered. A savvy online retailer needs to localise its delivery options to meet these local requirements. But what are these delivery preferences? more

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