Netherlands - Commercial Guide
eCommerce

Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and, reputable, prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2020-10-10

The popularity of online shopping continues to increase rapidly in the Netherlands. In 2019, 13.5 million shoppers in the Netherlands spent roughly $29 billion on 258 million online purchases. This represents a seven percent increase from 2018. The amount spent by Dutch shoppers on purchases directly from overseas sellers increased by 22 percent in 2019 to approximately $1.2 billion. China was the most popular country for cross-border purchases originating in the Netherlands (31 percent), followed by Germany (21 percent), the United Kingdom (11 percent) and the United States (9 percent).

There are several large eCommerce platforms in the Netherlands. In 2018, Bol.com was the first online retailer in the Netherlands to exceed one billion euros in revenues. In early 2020, Amazon launched a Dutch platform (Amazon.nl) and it is expected to quickly gain market share. The top 10 online retailers in the Netherlands in 2019 were as follows:  Bol.com, Coolblue, Albert Heijn, Zalando, Wehkamp, Amazon, The Learning Network, Jumbo, MediaMarkt, and H&M.

Accounting for more than 50 percent of all transactions, iDeal is the most commonly used payment method in the Netherlands. iDeal allows consumers to make purchases via direct online transfers from their bank accounts. All Dutch banks are affiliated with this system. Apple Pay, credit card, PayPal, payment after delivery, and direct debit are other payment mechanisms used in the Netherlands. Only 12 percent of transactions are paid by credit card.

A boost in online spending is generally seen in the run-up to the following holidays:  Valentine’s Day (February 14), Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May), Father’s Day (third Sunday in June), Sinterklaas (December 5), and Christmas (December 25).

Delivery price and speed are important factors for Dutch consumers when deciding whether to make a purchase online. Different delivery services in the Netherlands offer varying delivery times. Standard delivery services estimate a shipping time of two to three days for domestic deliveries. Express delivery services guarantee delivery by a specific date and time, usually with an extra cost. Several operators provide same-day delivery domestically as well as delivery during agreed time slots during the day. Faster delivery and specific delivery time slots are increasingly popular with customers. Customers increasingly expect real-time information during the delivery process. They also expect low cost or free deliveries and returns.

Detailed information on EU eCommerce legislation can be found in the European Union Country Commercial Guide