One in every 10 retail purchases in the Netherlands is now made online

Photo: Coolblue

Web shops continue to grow in popularity, ringing up a record €22.5bn in sales in 2017, sector organisation Thuiswinkel reported on Friday morning. One in every 10 retail purchases is now made online, Thuiswinkel said.

Buyers in the Netherlands totted up more than 201 million online purchases last year and the total bill was up 13% on 2016.

Holiday sales, centred around Black Friday and Single’s Day, contributed heavily to the total sales. In 2017, 95% of Dutch consumers aged 15 and older made an online purchase of goods or services, the report revealed.

‘Web shops get a lot of attention during sales and holiday campaigns. That’s how we capture the first buyers for Sinterklaas. On the downside, sales in these periods are at lower prices  which pressure profit margins,’ Thuiswinkel.org’s Wijnand Jongen said.




Jongen expects web shops will create more shop holiday occasions, ‘on Mother’s Day, for example, or around special school events.’ The last three months of the year with its many holidays now account for 33% of all online retail sales,’ he said.

Health and beauty

The biggest gainers in 2017 were health and beauty products, up 46%, home delivered meals, up 35% and home and garden supplies which rose 30%.

Despite rising sales, webshops are still lagging in terms of profits.  For example consumer electronics retailer Coolblue, which does most of its business online despite having several eye-catching shops, said on Thursday it had broken the billion-euro sales barrier in 2017.

Coolblue reported turnover 38% higher at €1.2bn. But its profit was less than €10m.

‘Profitability is too low,’said Coolblue founder Pieter Zwart. ‘Enormous growth requires enormous investment. We’ve put a lot of time and money in expanding our capacity. I have no concerns about the growth of profitability in the long run,’ Zwart told NOS.