FACT-Finder, an ecommerce specialist, found that the big three are the UK, with €48bn in annual sales, Germany, with €39.2bn and France with €25bn.
At the same time, cross-border trading is a challenge for many online stores, said the report. Cultural differences mean that despite the physical closeness of countries such as France and Germany, advertising campaigns do not translate across borders and few of their online stores trade beyond national boundaries.
There’s also, said FACT-Finder, a lack of consumer confidence in buying from different countries, while complex VAT requirements make it difficult for smaller brands and retailers to sell across the European Union.
The fastest growing, though currently the smallest, online market in Europe is Poland, which generates €3.6bn in sales but has grown by 36%^ in 2010, compared to the same time in 2009. The FACT –Finder report singles this out as the market with the greatest potential since its retailers are more aware of the opportunities offered by the internet."