Nearly 6000 new Belgian webshops in one year
Brussels, August 30, 2022 – Belgian entrepreneurs are increasingly finding their way to e-commerce. In one year, 5,985 new Belgian webshops were created, according to research conducted by software company Inoopa on behalf of BeCommerce. Most of the new webshops are physical stores that recently started to sell online. Especially in the food service industry, the growth is striking. "We see that e-commerce offers new opportunities for entrepreneurs: sales can be supplemented online to make it easier for consumers and food service companies have the opportunity to go online as well since corona," says Sofie Geeroms, Managing Director of BeCommerce.
Belgian e-commerce landscape grows by 13%
In one year, 5,985 new Belgian webshops were established, which indicates a growth of 13 percent. In total, there are now 51,101 Belgian webshops on the worldwide web according to a study by BeCommerce, the sector organization for e-commerce, conducted by software company Inoopa and in collaboration with e-commerce expert Damien Jacob who analyzed the data for BeCommerce. The study, which maps the Belgian e-commerce landscape, also shows that 31 percent of the webshops active in Belgium are less than five years old.
Most of the new webshops act as complementary stores to their own existing brick-and-mortar business. Of the 13 percent growth, 8 percent is actually due to existing stores that have started a webshop. "Brick-and-mortar and webshops as direct competitors are now really a thing of the past," observes Sofie Geeroms, Managing Director of BeCommerce. "The option to sell both online and offline offers new opportunities to entrepreneurs: physical stores choose to complement their sales with webshops and webshops open physical stores after a few years, for example. We also see that e-commerce gives many young entrepreneurs the opportunity to really build on their innovative idea with a smaller capital."
Large majority of webshops from Flanders
BeCommerce's research further shows that Flanders is the powerhouse of e-commerce in Belgium: 72 percent of all webshops in Belgium are Flemish.
"E-commerce is more established in Flanders than in Wallonia or Brussels," says Sofie Geeroms. "Our Market Monitor, which measures the purchase figures among Belgian consumers every quarter, had already shown for some time that Flemish people buy much more online. Now it also appears that Flemish entrepreneurs respond to this consumer demand and sell more online than in Wallonia or Brussels. An explanation may be that Dutch webshops had already made e-commerce possible in Flanders, and the Flemish consumer therefore started to expect to be able to buy online."
Retail dominates e-commerce
Although e-commerce goes much wider than retail, to this day it is still dominated by 'Retail and Wholesale'. Almost half (22,709) of the Belgian webshops fall under that category. More surprising is the second-largest category: the food service industry. Last year, the sector was only in fourth place.
"Covid-19 probably has something to do with that," says Sofie Geeroms. "Entrepreneurs in the food service industry have noticed that sometimes people like to enjoy a restaurant meal at home as well. That's why they're sticking with a takeout or delivery option, even though restaurants opened their doors again."
"We are very pleased to be able to map the Belgian e-commerce landscape for the second time. By analyzing the evolutions, we obtain important insights into the needs of e-commerce entrepreneurs. That allows us to better defend the interests of the sector," concludes Sofie Geeroms.
Those who wish to consult the entire list of webshops selling in Belgium can do so via the S100, 8th edition.
BeCommerce is the Belgian non-profit organization that brings together companies active in the Belgian market in e-commerce. BeCommerce contributes to consumer confidence in e-commerce by providing a formal trustmark to webshops. Thanks to the certification, security scans, consumer ratings and reviews of e-commerce websites, BeCommerce contributes to the growth of the sector.
BeCommerce also puts these objectives into practice through awareness, information, knowledge and research projects and the development of its own Trustmark code of conduct. In addition, BeCommerce contributes to the creation of a favorable economic and political environment for the sector. In particular, it strives for the removal of any regulatory restrictions that inhibit the competitiveness of digital commerce including distance selling and its further development in Belgium.
It counts among its members and partners mainly web stores and companies active in the e-commerce sector and distance selling, as well as companies providing services in logistics, payment and IT.
About Inoopa and the methodology
Inoopa S.A. is a Belgian company based in Liege that was founded in March 2016 by Jean-Pol Boone and Jean-Noël Chamart. The truly unique tool allows the creation of automatic reports that allow one to know if a company has an interest in starting e-commerce, while also presenting concrete strategies to make the digital transition. From shopkeeper to large SME, Inoopa allows you to assess the chances of success of any business in e-commerce, and in each case the tool explains how to generate value. Inoopa is based on an advanced algorithm, based on statistical data from 2000 sources (Ipsos, Forrester, GfK, NIelsen, etc.).
For this research, Inoopa uses an AI model that detects if companies have a sales platform on the website through keyword analysis, data science modeling and machine learning. The estimated missed Belgian web stores by Inoopa's technology, based on websites not showing enough information to be matched with companies, is >9%. In this research, e-commerce is measured by online orders according to the Eurostat definition.