Top E-Commerce Retailers in Europe 2022
The COVID-19 outbreak has no doubt reshaped the e-commerce retail industry in more ways than we have imagined. Among other factors, the adoption of online shopping has accelerated by many folds as a result of lockdowns and social distancing measures imposed around the world, the European e-commerce market, in particular, has shown remarkable growth in recent years – a trend that is expected to continue in the near future.
As consumer expectations and purchasing habits continue to evolve, you can expect e-commerce brands to rise up to the challenge and come up with new strategies. With reference to RetailX Report, we have compiled a list of the leading e-commerce retailers in Europe that have successfully adapted to the latest technological innovations, challenges, and changing consumer behaviors.
Download the infographic for more details on the state of e-commerce in Europe.
Read on to find out who made the list this year!
Amazon continues to retain its spot in the elite position, with its growing market coverage in 8 major European markets including the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland. In 2021 itself, Amazon reported gross revenue of $53.1B contributed by the European market alone.
The e-commerce behemoth has been a pioneer in adopting emerging technologies and practices, like the use of robots to streamline the efficiency of e-commerce fulfillment operations or the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) applications across logistics, warehousing, and distribution. Amazon continues to explore brand new opportunities for its customers by providing hands-free shopping with innovative methods like the Alexa-enabled online shopping experience,
Furthermore, Amazon has also perfected the art of delivering goods in two days or less. With its fleet of delivery vehicles, massive numbers of warehouses open close to end customers for the fastest delivery times. Now, Amazon is not just convenient; it is the default shopping channel for many users in Europe as well as international markets. Its loyalty program, Amazon Prime, continues to be high in demand, with over 200 million people globally subscribed to Amazon Prime.
Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, software and online services like the famous iPhone, iPad and Mac series. Apple is the largest technology company by revenue, totaling $365.8 billion in 2021. The tech giant has achieved more than technological dominance. The company has managed to get what many dreams of—global brand recognition and a legacy that will last for decades. One thing’s for sure, Apple’s marketing strategies continue to stand out, serving as a benchmark for companies in the industry who want to achieve the same global popularity, revenue growth and staying power.
For instance, Apple is focused on optimizing its experience ecosystem, ensuring every customer touchpoint (products, the website, ads, app store, and retail store) yields a consistent Apple experience that is seamlessly integrated into users’ day-to-day lives. Apple has prioritized innovation beyond the core by creating the infrastructure to enable this ecosystem securely and seamlessly. A tangible example of this would be the seamless omnichannel retail experience that they offer in their Apple Stores, overturning conventional retailing wisdom by putting experience before “selling”.
As the second largest grocery retailer in the world, Carrefour has expanded its markets to different retail scales including hypermarkets, supermarkets, cash and carry, and convenience stores. Stepping into the era of Digital Retail, the Carrefour Group has notably become the leader in food e-commerce in Continental Europe with advanced multichannel capabilities and stellar home delivery services. The company continues to accelerate its food e-commerce innovations and activities such as fine-tuning its express deliveries, quick commerce services, innovative shopping services like personal shoppers, and more.
With "data-centric, digital first" as the core of their e-commerce strategies, Carrefour has also established Carrefour Links, the best Data and Retail Media offer in Europe with a unique set of first-party data that represents 8 billion transactions and 80 million customers in the world. Links combines the Group's retail expertise with the very best technologies available for storing and processing data. The platform utilizes technology from digital and data partners like Google Cloud, Criteo and LiveRamp to offer a more personalized digital offering to its consumers. The platform helps branded consumer goods companies partner with the retailer on data collaboration on a global scale to inform rollouts, and the program helps Carrefour learn more about its portfolio of own brands and how they meet shopper needs.
Decathlon, the leading European sports retailer, has established over 1600 stores in more than 50 countries spread across 5 continents. The company follows a unique business model as they design, test, manufacture, and retail their brands. Currently, Decathlon has over 30 private labels – each dedicated to one sport or physical activity. For instance, Quechua is their hiking, camping, and outdoor gear brand whilst the Kalenji range is designed for running activities.
Being a consumer-first company, focusing on customer assistance and loyalty has earned Decathlon undeniable success and popularity. This is done through developing a seamless omnichannel retail experience, integrating both offline and online capabilities for customers. For example, Decathlon’s self-checkout app allows customers access to all Decathlon products whether they are browsing in-store or online, and eliminates queues with faster checkouts. Furthermore, the sports retail giant has recently introduced enhanced automated care in the United Kingdom (UK), by collaborating closely with Heyday, a conversational AI company. This new initiative offers an always-on method for solving customers’ simple online queries and provides personalized shopping experiences and customer relationship management.
eBay, the world’s online marketplace facilitates C2C and B2C sales through its e-commerce website. The eBay marketplace is famous for its core service which enables sellers to list items for sale on an auction or fixed-price basis. Buyers also have the opportunity to bid for and purchase items of interest. To ease the selling and buying experience, eBay has innovated comprehensive software tools which include Seller’s Assistant, Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro. This helps to automate the selling process, plus the Shipping Calculator, Reporting tools, etc.
Following a unique business approach,eBay was able to gain a first-mover advantage in this space, offering niched products and offering intuitive tools to create a more personalized and convenient shopping experience. Recently, eBay has released a report “Inside the eBay Economy” that dives into eBay’s European marketplace. The report highlighted a 50% growth in the number of European sellers that had turned over £1m or €1m in just four years. This shows an optimistic future for eBay in the European e-commerce market as it continues to enhance its capabilities and innovations.
The IKEA brand is the largest and most valuable furniture retailer in the world, welcoming almost one billion customers in 2019. With its humble beginnings as with its first store in Sweden called the ‘IKEA Start Shop’, IKEA has developed into an omnichannel retailer with many different touch points online and across all of its physical stores. For almost 80 years, IKEA has been in the very analog business of selling its distinct brand of home goods to people. To adapt to the changing purchasing habits of consumers, coupled with the onset of Covid-19, IKEA embarked on a digital transformation. Though the shift was not an immediate success, IKEA was able to persevere and has since tripled e-commerce levels in the past three years with 2.3 billion online visits globally per year.
In line with its motto, “creating a better everyday life for many,” IKEA has been innovating and enhancing its global web presence to improve the customer experience both online and offline. With the highly-intuitive IKEA app, the “Shop & Go” feature allows users to scan, pay for items and skip the checkout line in the store. Moreover, IKEA has transformed its traditional printed catalogs and incorporated augmented reality and virtual reality for personalization, convenience and creativity in the customer’s purchasing journey. Additionally, prioritizing the customer delivery experience, IKEA has injected EUR400M into new distribution centers to aid its growing e-commerce volumes which are strategically placed to reduce delivery time.
JD Sports, one of the leading sports, fashion and outdoor brands retailers, is celebrating its outstanding half-year results with a 41% rise in revenues in 2021, outperforming competitors even on tough economic terrains. JD sports’ embracement of multichannel selling, alongside their growth in physical stores, allows their customers to shop seamlessly across all channels. Attributing to its current success, JD Sports was able to recognize that its customers are extremely digitally aware. With the shift towards e-commerce shopping brought about by the pandemic, JD Sports invests heavily in digital innovation and mobile technologies to further enhance the multichannel journey for its customers.
With high order volumes, comes high return rates, JD Sports has innovated its returns process and implemented an automated seamless returns solution. This meant customers could initiate returns online without the need for a printer, and it offered them a better in-store returns experience. Moreover, using Fluent Order Management, JD Sports was able to turn Click and Collect on or off for individual stores in minutes. This flexibility allowed the company to respond to customer demands as well as a changing trading environment at an unprecedented speed.
While it may not be a familiar name, multi-brand company Otto Group is the second-biggest distance-selling company worldwide, behind Amazon. Founded in Germany, Otto Group’s business model was focused on catalog shopping that created superior customer value through a huge portfolio of products and the convenience of catalog-based shopping. Otto Group has since established over 120 companies and brands in Europe, the United States and Asia, focusing mostly on companies that are within the e-commerce and the paper sector.
Adapting to the ever-changing retail trends and consumer buying behavior, there was a need for Otto Group to digitally transform its business model. For instance, the company invested a significant amount of venture capital in the last few years into new business models and innovative start-ups that offer e-commerce, mobile, and software solutions. By focusing more on advanced solutions and predictive data analytics, Otto Group has developed new tailor-made solutions for the various target markets, using the latest technology. Currently, Otto Group reports total online sales revenue of 11 billion euros, compared with 9.9 billion euros in the previous year.
Tesco is one of the largest multinational grocery and general merchandise retailers in the world. Headquartered in London, the organization has a retail presence in 11 countries and regional e-commerce websites to serve its increasingly online audience. With customer behavior and preferences changing rapidly, Tesco quickly adapted to its increasingly digitally-savvy consumers by offering customers an easier way to shop.
As part of Tesco’s successful e-commerce strategy, its mobile app offers a full portfolio of all the products on Tesco’s website, with simple and efficient filtering options for customers to quickly find the products they need. With a personalized homepage for each customer and capabilities for targeted push notifications and product suggestions, the app also provides a customized, supportive shopping experience. As a result, its online sales in the UK grossed £6.3B, a 77% increase from the previous year. Tesco continues to expand its e-commerce fulfillment capabilities, offering home deliveries, click & collect options and more.
The e-commerce fashion retailer Zalando was established in 2008, offering more than 1,500 worldwide brands and product categories. Expanding across Europe to reach new consumer demand quickly without compromising on customer experience can be a challenge. With the rapid rise of online fashion searches come increasing customer expectations for broad choice and exceptional convenience.
Customer demand for a high-quality and individual shopping experience is rising and so are the technical requirements for an e-tailer. Zalando is all about tackling the need for maximum flexibility and constant innovation by dismissing standard systems and developing tailored technical solutions in-house. Zalando prioritizes building and optimizing a personalized and emotional customer experience. With its recent innovations, Zalando has launched the personal shopping feed dubbed ‘My Zalando’ which offers a recommendation engine that combines data from recently purchased products with editorial content such as new arrivals. Additionally, its ‘Photo Search’ feature, an image recognition function integrated into the Zalando app, allows users to accurately find the exact fashion article that they need. The e-tailer giant continues to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing needs of consumers to ensure an exciting and seamless shopping experience.
RetailX Top 1000 Report Methodology
This report utilizes the RetailX data-driven approach to first naming the leading 1,000 retailers in the 32 markets in Europe and analyze their performance through the six RetailX performance dimensions: Strategy & Innovation, The Customer, Operations & Logistics, Merchandising, Engagement and Mobile & Cross-channel.
Click here for Retail X’s full report.
You May Also Like:
For more exclusive reports, insights, and interviews on the latest updates in e-commerce and logistics, follow us on LinkedIn or join our community as a member.