CB Commerce Europe report: Top 16 Countries Cross-Border Europe


The total online EU cross-border market represents a turnover of €171 billion in 2021 (excluding travel), a YTD increase of 17%. Cross-Border Commerce Europe’s annual report ranking the 16 strongest European countries in terms of cross-border performance has just been released, with the support of Lengow, alongside Checkout.com, FedEx Express, Lengow, nShift and Payoneer. A preview of some key learnings from the annual report.

The research paper focuses on brands and retailers’ cross-border performance both from the consumer perspective and the business approach. Four factors are weighted in the ranking:

  • Online cross-border sales in Europe (16 countries within Western Europe, Scandinavia and the UK)
  • Cross-border online market share
  • Cross-border consumer confidence
  • Percentage of cross-border website visits

Luxembourg has once again been elected as the EU’s top cross-border market, with Germany maintaining its lead as the market that produces the greatest cross-border internet stores and marketplaces. Online cross-border B2C sales from the UK decreased to €29 billion, a historically low level (-12%).

The TOP 16 Countries for 2021:

  1. Luxembourg
  2. Ireland
  3. Austria
  4. Denmark
  5. Belgium
  6. Switzerland
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Germany
  10. Italy
  11. Spain
  12. France
  13. Portugal
  14. United Kingdom
  15. Finland
  16. The Netherlands

Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, and Portugal are among the climbers. Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands haven’t moved. The United Kingdom is the only country descending in the ranking. 

Focus on the UK (#14 TOP Cross-Border Country)

The UK (eRank 14) dropped 10 positions in the ranking due to Brexit. The lack of confidence and cross-border visitors resulted in 12% lower turnover, resulting in €29 billion.

Brexit has a negative impact on cross-border trade to and from the UK. UK customers lose faith in cross-border commerce (-35%).

Brexit will essentially result in additional taxes and bureaucracy for online retailers. Nobody can dispute the operational and logistical difficulties that Brexit is bringing for online merchants of all sizes and in all industries. For EU e-tailers selling to UK clients and vice versa, rising shipping costs, delivery delays, new rules, and more paperwork are creating previously unheard-of obstacles.

Infographic CBC TOP16-min

TOP 10 Countries from a business perspective

Counting 84 million residents, Germany attained the top spot in the list in 2021. This is thanks to cross-border webshop champions including brands such as Hugo Boss, Hello Fresh, Zooplus, Zalando, Lidl, About You, Adidas and Westwing. Germany counts 112 international web stores included in the TOP 500, compared to “just” 74 in the UK. Germany is in first place because it has the most international web stores, of which 55 (or 49 percent) are lone players and nine are marketplaces.

Pan-European Holdings are major drivers for European cross-border e-commerce, including Inditex, Richemont, Kinnevik, Heartland, Signify, Mulliez, Otto, Schwarz, LVMH and Nestlé.

For more insights and key learnings, download the full report today.

Sell cross-border today!

Photo: Ollie Craig (Pexels)

Naomi Botting

Field Marketing Specialist

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