Greece scored the highest annual increase in Europe in electronic commerce turnover last year, per the yearly report on the industry released by Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce.
While the turnover of online purchases in 37 European countries averaged 10% higher in 2020 from 2019, in Greece the increase amounted to 77%, as consumers swung in droves to e-shopping once the spring 2020 lockdown started. A distant second was Moldova with 49% growth in turnover.
The relatively small rise in turnover in the rest of Europe – smaller than the 14% growth recorded in 2019 – is attributed to the pandemic in that tourism sector sales dipped on the low performance of air ticket sales and accommodation bookings. In total online shopping turnover in 2020 was estimated at 757 billion euros, compared to €690 billion in 2019.
The rapid ascent of Greek e-commerce was not due to an increase in the purchases internet users made, but thanks to the number of people now using e-shops. While the rate of internet users rose just three percentage points, from 76% in 2019 to 79% in 2020, the share of those making online purchases expanded 19.67% in one year to reach 59% from 51% in 2019.
This growth trend is expected to continue in 2021, if at a slightly lower rate, with the use of the World Wide Web and online shopping continuing to increase. The report by Ecommerce Europe (the federation of national online retailers) and EuroCommerce (the confederation of European retailers and wholesalers) estimates that internet penetration will reach 82% this year and those shopping online will come to 63%.
Almost one-fifth (19%) of Greeks who shop online said that they made one or two online purchases per quarter in 2020, 15% said they shopped online three to five times within three months and another 15% said they made at least six purchases.
Crucially for the sector, after the decision of the government to subsidize small and medium-sized enterprises for the development of their own online stores, it is estimated that the number of e-shops will grow by some 30% in Greece.