The Benelux is a mature e-commerce market with a large number of internet-savvy customers all within a relatively small geographical area. Through the active processing of sales and marketing and via numerous strategic partnerships, Åland Post has recently obtained a position in Benelux market as a player in 3PL. We are happy to share our knowledge of this interesting and affluent market.
The Netherlands offers the best conditions in the world for conducting e-commerce, a point that was concluded in the UN's B2C E-commerce Index 2018. Of the more than 17 million inhabitants of the country, 84% of people over 15 years of age shop online. In 2018, the Dutch shopped for approximately EUR 23.6 billion worth of products and services online, an increase of more than 10% over the previous year. The primary market segments were for products in house & garden, fashion, and home electronics.
It is important to remember that Amazon has not (yet) established itself within the Dutch e-commerce market. While some sales are made via the German site amazon.de, no official site for the Netherlands has been launched. This is primarily because of the rather strong position of the local e-commerce platform bol.com. Belgium, which is largely divided into a Dutch-speaking part (Flanders) and a French-speaking part (Wallonia), lacks its own large dedicated e-commerce platform. Residents of Belgium mostly use e-commerce platforms from neighbouring countries, either the Dutch bol.com or the French amazon.fr.
Thanks to the relatively small geographic area and a well-developed infrastructure, next day delivery has become the standard within Benelux countries. There have been many discussions and experiments concerning sustainable and environmentally-friendly delivery methods; many strategies involve bicycles playing a significant role in the process. However, paying extra for swift, sustainable, or environmentally-friendly alternatives is not a value that appeals to the average consumer living in the Benelux countries. The main consideration when it comes to shopping online, according to consumers, is that the process should be smooth and, most importantly, inexpensive!