State of E-Commerce in Belgium 2021
Despite its well-developed economy, Belgium still lags behind other European countries in terms of e-commerce and logistics infrastructure. That being said, the country is home to one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets, with highly unexplored market potential for parcel delivery services. Statista, for one, estimates that Belgium’s e-commerce market will surpass US$ 17.5 billion in revenue by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 14.7%.
As part of our state of e-commerce series last year, we covered Belgium’s figures for H2 2020. How has the country’s e-commerce evolved since then? Have there been any changes in both domestic and cross-border landscapes? Let’s find out!
Deliveries in Belgium Had an Average Transit Time of 1.03 Days
Despite the pandemic-induced e-commerce boom, Belgium saw an improvement in the average transit time of domestic parcels, from 1.2 days in H2 2020 to 1.03 days in FY 2021. This could possibly be due to the concerted efforts of local carriers and logistics providers in keeping up with the surge in e-commerce volumes. A prominent example would be the Belgian Post Group (or Bpost in short), the leading post and parcel delivery firm that has recently ramped up its offerings to offer differentiation.
For instance, Bpost has digitized the entire process of receiving and delivering a package with the help of the Infosys Live Enterprise network. By incorporating Infosys Living Labs within the warehouse itself, the company has created a mobile sorting station that not only increases capacity during peak seasons, but also eliminates packing errors, thus ensuring timely deliveries to customers with minimal delays.
92.7% of Domestic Parcels in Belgium Were Successfully Delivered on the First Attempt
Around March last year, we saw the Belgian government reimposing strict lockdown measures in the face of rising infections and hospital admissions following a long, stable period. Under the new rules, schools were required to close and social gatherings were capped at four pax. Similarly, when the omicron variant was becoming dominant towards the end of 2021, the authorities once again tightened its restrictions to control the spread of the virus. With the population staying at home for the majority of the year, it is no surprise that the first-delivery success rate in Belgium was as high as 92.7% in 2021.
When it comes to e-commerce logistics, (first-time) delivery success rates are so critical as they can positively impact the customer experience, which could in turn result in greater customer satisfaction and consequently, higher customer retention. Having to reschedule a delivery not only incurs extra costs associated with additional storage and manpower, but also translates to longer waiting times for customers. In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with multiple options, retailers must place a renewed emphasis on maintaining customer loyalty. One way to do this is by integrating real-time visibility tools to keep shoppers informed about the latest delivery status updates, thus minimizing the chances of missed deliveries in the future.
Around 70% of International Shipments Bound for Belgium Originated from China, Germany and the Netherlands
In comparison to their Dutch neighbors, Belgium consumers seem to be more receptive to purchasing from foreign retailers. Based on our data, more Belgian consumers were opting for cross-border shopping last year, with most inbound parcels coming from Germany, the Netherlands, and China. More specifically speaking, Germany topped the charts as the most common country to shop from, with 30.3% of international shipments originating from there. The Netherlands and China were close behind, each representing about 21.7% and 18.1% of the total parcel volume in 2021. For Belgians, it is common to make cross-border purchases either directly from online stores like Zara and H&M, or via global e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Bol.com and Zalando.
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