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Previously, we examined the state of e-commerce in the US, Australia, and Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore for the second half of 2020. We also kicked off our analysis with the Netherlands. This week, we are taking a closer look at the state of e-commerce in another European country — Belgium.
The e-commerce market in Belgium is the 24th largest market and is expected to generate US$7,589 million in revenue by 2021. There were reportedly 200,000 new online shoppers in Belgium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first wave of COVID-19, both the Netherlands and Belgium experienced a dip in offline sales. In October 2020, Belgium announced that it returned to a national lockdown as it had the highest infection rate in Europe as the second wave hit the country. So how did this affect the state of e-commerce in Belgium during the second half of 2020?
Deliveries in Belgium take an average of 1.2 days before first delivery attempt
Benchmarking against other European countries like Germany (1.5 days), the UK (2.2 days), France (1.8 days), and Sweden (2.1 days), e-commerce parcels in Belgium seem to have a shorter transit time of 1.2 days before first delivery attempt.
A study by Statista found that 82% Belgian consumers were shopping domestically, and 65% from other European countries. With domestic deliveries having a relatively quick average delivery time of 1.2 days and most consumers making domestic purchases, it does seem that consumers were still able to receive their parcels on time despite the pandemic.
Even during the holiday shopping season, there was not a tremendous change in transit time. Belgium’s national postal operator was ready on their feet with 4,000 seasonal workers and 2,000 fleet to boost its operations during the peak season.
Parcels in Belgium have a 92% success rate at first delivery attempt
As the second COVID-19 wave struck Belgium, another national lockdown was announced to curb the spread of the virus. Working from home was mandatory and gatherings were limited to a maximum of 4 persons. The government also advised everyone to refrain from all social interactions as much as possible; slim chances of consumers missing their deliveries.
It was therefore no surprise that delivery success rates remained relatively high at 92%, similar to what we have previously observed in our past analysis.
10.1% of parcels were delivered to collection points
In November last year, one of Belgium’s largest postal and logistics companies, Bpost, offered retailers a collection service in its post offices to help alleviate the overwhelming number of e-commerce orders and deliveries.
“In this way, the seller can concentrate fully on selling and processing, without having to worry about delivery or assigning staff to a collection point. Local post offices thus become a storage space and a local collection point for SMEs,” Bpost explained in a release.
With this new pickup service, consumers are able to receive notifications about their parcels and pick them up when they are ready.
“Post offices relieve local traders of the headache of putting their digital sales into practice. In addition, this makes it easier for consumers to make local purchases despite the confinement.”
How will the state of e-commerce for Belgium change in 2021?
Fast forward today, Belgium seems to have loosened its pandemic restrictions; indoor dining in restaurants are now allowed with the increase in vaccination rates. Will the state of e-commerce and retail in Belgium change now that more consumers are vaccinated and are able to head out more?
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