Comparison Across Amazon's

"Big 5" European Marketplaces

for Global Sellers

Amazon European Marketplaces

So you’ve spent the past couple of years familiar with the world of selling on, and created an exciting new business venture for yourself. Pretty soon, as you continue to grow, you’ll find yourself asking “what’s next”? You can always add new products and market niches to grow your business, but a better alternative is expanding internationally.

Expanding overseas means tens of millions of new customers for  your products. Amazon sells across 26 different countries globally, and learning to take advantage of that can boost your revenue. The diverse marketplaces also open up new seasonal and holiday opportunities that can grow your sales.  Additionally, you will be strengthening your business’ resilience to market fluctuations by diversifying your profit opportunities across multiple countries.. Finally, European markets tend to be smaller than their US counterparts which means less competition for your product and a shot at that highly coveted “first seller” slot.

 

Marketplace expansion does come with challenges. You’ll need to understand cultural differences and consumer sentiment across the countries where you plan to sell your products. Some American habits or trends may be uninteresting or even off-putting to European customers and you’ll need to optimize your strategy and listings accordingly.

In this post, we’ll dive into the nuances of Amazon’s “big 5” European marketplaces—but first, let’s take a look at some baseline stats for the US Amazon Marketplace for easier comparison.

Amabig 5 amazon's marketplacezon.de

Amazon.de
(Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands)

When it comes to gross sales, Germany is the largest single market following Amazon’s US marketplace, but it may also be the most different from cultural and regulatory perspectives. German consumers tend to expect a very straightforward and factual representation of products they are interested in, and their purchasing decisions and behaviors tend to reflect as much.


Important Rules for Sellers

When expanding your business to a European market, you need to take into account VAT (Value Added Tax) which is enforced across EU nations. VAT is taken against all sales of goods and services for businesses that are registered with VAT. The rate can vary by country and may even vary across product categories. VAT deserves a full explanation which you can find here.


  • Germany requires a 19% value added tax (VAT), and purchases of at least 25 euro by a non-EU resident can be refunded by the German government.

  • The Netherlands also has an average VAT rate of 21%, with lower rates for essentials like food and medicine.

  • Luxembourg has an average VAT base of 17% for most consumer products.

  • Belgium has a fairly high VAT base at 21% for many online goods.

  • Austria has a standard of 20% base VAT for most products, and a notably low 10% for books as of January 1, 2020.


  • When marketing to Dutch consumers, the most important consideration is consent. If you intend to contact anyone who is not your customer, you must obtain their consent beforehand. On top of that, you need to maintain a record of how and when consent to contact was obtained.


  • Standards are relatively similar in the Netherlands, where all websites must have specific information listed including the company name, address, and Netherlands Chamber of Commerce number. Prices, features, payment, and delivery details must also be clearly accessible for all product listings.

 
  • In Belgium, it is also a requirement that labels and information on a product can be read by consumers. Typically, information is provided in both Dutch and French information to maximize access to customers.
 
  • When sending a marketing email, there are a few things that you always need to include, specifically information about the business and information about you (the sender).
 
  • While not illegal, it is not considered appropriate to send emails to Dutch customers during family time, vacation time, or religious holidays.
 
  • Time to return goods can vary a bit between the countries represented on Amazon.de. Germany’s legal minimum time required is 14 days, while Austria’s is only 7. It is common to offer 14 days to Austrian customers both for ease of management and to improve customer satisfaction.
Consumer Trends
  • Apparel is the most popular e-commerce sales category in Germany, though there is also a rapid expansion of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and groceries. In other Dutch countries (particularly Austria and Switzerland), the e-commerce markets tend to look similar to Germany. Trends are predictable in those countries, often following German product purchasing trends from 12 months ago.

 
  • In Austria, clothing and sporting goods are the largest category at 66% of online shoppers, followed by books, magazines, and e-books at 42%

 
  • Fashion and consumer electronics are the frontrunners in Belgium at 61% and 45% respectively

 
  • For Luxembourg, books and magazines dominate e-commerce product purchases (40%), with household items (37%) and electronic equipment (25%) trailing behind.

 
  • The Netherlands has one of the few markets that doesn’t put fashion at the forefront with telecommunication reaching 12.82%, consumer electronica at 7.84%, computer hardware and software at 7.57%, and clothing and shoes at only 7.48%

 
  • German consumers are focused on trustworthy interactions. For example, having a local address that you can associate with your account will make a big impact on your Dutch customer base. Otherwise, they may assume returns and customer service interactions will be difficult (more on returns later)

 
  • The Netherlands has a higher income per consumer than many countries, but consumers also tend to spend conservatively. Using specials and discounts will often attract consumers from the Netherlands more than traditional marketing material

 
  • In Belgium, it is all about convenience and speed. Shopping online is most attractive to consumers because they can shop 24/7 and access products available cross-border

 
  • Dutch consumers will want your credentials and reputation prominently displayed. They are generally not interested in marketing or sales-y content (just honest facts—ideally from a 3rd party). They often look for reviews from other Dutch shoppers, and if applicable will want to see certifications from EU or even Dutch-specific groups (for example, an FDA approval is not meaningful to prospective German customers).

 
  • As mentioned above, German customers tend to know what they want, expect to receive what they paid for, and are very likely to return a product if they do not like it. Outside of returns, they’re also more likely to contact sellers directly or leave a negative review if they’re not satisfied. This behavior is less common in other Dutch countries.

 
  • When making a purchase, over 40% of Dutch e-commerce shoppers prefer to “pay on account” (often called “cash on account” in the US) while 33% prefer to use PayPal or a similar service.

 
  • Online banking is also the favored method in Luxembourg, however credit and debit cards aren’t too far behind (39% for online banking vs 34% for credit/debit).

 

 

Succeeding on Amazon.de will require catering to consumer expectations. However, if you can learn to navigate the legal and cultural requirements to win the consumer’s business, it can have a huge impact on your ROI. Keep your product quality high and your listing honest, and you can take advantage of a very large and loyal market.

big 5 amazon's marketplace

Amazon.uk
(United Kingdom)

The United Kingdom is the second largest European marketplace. With a culture similar to the US’, it is one of the most common targets for expansion. Due to the ease of expanding from one western European marketplace into another , this could be the perfect fit for your business’ global expansion

Important Rules for Sellers 

  • The UK has a fairly high VAT rate at a base 20% rate on purchases and a minimum 30 euro purchase for exporting refunds.

  • When selling in the UK, every imported item will need a “European Identifier Number” (EORI) to pass through customs. Unpaid taxes can delay the delivery of your product by weeks or even months, so be sure to follow the proper processes.

  • Finally, Amazon.co.uk requires a UK return address. You can have this set up through a local company on your behalf.

Consumer Trends

  • The UK has a very strong Amazon marketplace presence, with 91% of consumers having used Amazon for e-commerce shopping (compared to the 56% global average).

  • As for focused selling categories, clothing and apparel rank first in the UK, followed by household goods and films or music (including downloads).

  • One of the most important shopping considerations for the average British consumer is shipping costs. Free shipping is an important factor in UK purchasing trends.

  • There is a growing environmental consideration among UK shoppers as well, with 62% saying that plastic waste and recyclable materials were a concern for purchasing. This is the first year that any consideration will compare to price, which 57% said were their main consideration for purchases.

  • In the UK, card payments are by far the most popular option. 52% of purchases are done with credit cards, the most common being the largest companies, Visa, MasterCard, and Amex.

Amazon.co.uk offers a competitive selling environment, but it could be a great way for your business to ease into the European marketplace. While there is certainly a lot to consider before you grow your business, having a consumer base that is similar to your native country’s can make that transition easier.

big 5 amazon's marketplace

Amazon.fr
(France)

The remaining marketplaces are significantly smaller than the two listed above. However, they each have unique characteristics that you should understand to maximize your impact as a global seller. Amazon.fr in particular hosts a lot of cross-border purchases, especially with some of the Dutch countries listed above that also speak French (e.g., Belgium).

Important Rules for Sellers 

 

  • Like many of the previously listed countries, France has a base VAT of 20% on most consumer goods but a relatively high 175.01 euro minimum for refunds.

  • Amazon.fr does have higher sellers fees than other European countries due to a French tax on nearly 30 major companies focused in the US (including Amazon). The 3% tax was passed in 2019.

Consumer Trends

 

  • French consumers expect listings to be in French. 45% of French online shoppers are happy to shop with international brands, but want access to the information in their native tongue. In many French marketplaces, listing in French is actually a requirement.

  • Shipping preferences in France are also slightly different from other countries, as 72% of consumers would prefer to pick up their order at a physical store after ordering online. This allows them to pick up a delivery on their own time and not worry about missing a delivery time slot.

  • Debit cards are the preferred payment method in France with 85% of online shoppers using a card tied directly to their account. French consumers tend to stay away from credit cards.

With Amazon.fr having a smaller number of sellers in general, it can be a good market for your business to expand into. Professional translations of your listings will go a long way, but for the most part, Amazon provides you the tools you will need to reach French consumers. Be aware of your margins, however, and how they will be impacted by the higher seller fees.

amazon.it

Amazon.it
(Italy)

Like France, Amazon.it has a smaller seller base which could mean less competition for your growing business. The consumer trends differ a fair amount from those in France. which is important to know when deciding how to expand next. However, if your product is very niche, you could have a lot of success while enjoying the “first to market” advantage.

Important Rules for Sellers 

  • Italian VAT sits at a fairly high base of 22% on most goods and a refund minimum of 155 euro.

Consumer Trends

 

  • Italian consumers rely heavily on cross-border e-cCommerce purchases, with most of the nation’s online shopping being imported from either the UK or Germany.

  • Consumer products ranked highly in Italy including electronics and apparel, and as mentioned above, niche retailers have a much higher success rate than standard products.

  • The favored payment method for Italian consumers is Paypal which is not easily supported by Amazon. However, prepaid cards and credit cards follow as the second most popular payment method.

  • Italian shoppers will be put off by any unexpected costs. Be sure that your delivery rates are transparent, and if you are selling from another platform, having multiple delivery options can be a bonus.

  • Localizing the buying experience is the biggest impact you can have on winning over Italian e-commerce consumers. Using the buyer’s language, payment options, and currencies will make them much more likely to purchase your product.

Due to the preference for shopping on UK and German e-commerce sites, having Italy be your first option for global expansion may not be the best use of your time. However, if you feel confident that you have a very niche product and can provide a strong localized listing, you may find that you’ll hit your stride without much competition.

amazon.es

Amazon.es
(Spain)

Of the five on our list, Amazon.es  has the smallest number of sellers. However, the opportunity for online revenue is fairly strong and continually growing.

Important Rules for Sellers 

 

  • Spain has an average VAT base rate of 21%, which is just above the standard across Europe. The same can be said for the minimum refund amount, which is 90.16 euro.

Consumer Trends

 

    • When it comes to Spanish shoppers, the convenience of online shopping is the biggest draw. Having orders delivered directly to their homes and the fact that e-commerce is available around the clock are both huge factors listed by customers when asked why they shop online.

    • There are a few large categories that Spanish consumers frequent: fashion at 65%, consumer electronics at 55%, and books/CDs at 46%. While clothing and consumer electronics may be the most popular categories in Spain, they are also the most frequently returned products.

    • Like Italy, PayPal and similar online services are the ideal method of payment for most shoppers, preferred by 77% of consumers. Debit and credit cards aren’t far behind, with 50% of orders processed by cards.

Summary

When taking your business to the next level and expanding to the European Amazon Marketplaces (Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es), be aware of legal and cultural considerations in order to succeed globally.

 

Also, it’s important to watch out for sneaky fees! Learn more about Amazon’s Currency Converter fees here. A good global currency account designed for the needs of ecommerce merchants will give you the ability to store all your currencies and make free payments to VAT authorities. Check out PingPong to learn how you can save and simplify your global payments.

 

Psst… There’s more savvy know-how to grow your
Amazon business 

Comparison Across Amazon's "Big 5" EU Marketplaces for Global Sellers

Amazon European Marketplaces

So you’ve spent the past couple of years familiar with the world of selling on, and created an exciting new business venture for yourself. Pretty soon, as you continue to grow, you’ll find yourself asking “what’s next”? You can always add new products and market niches to grow your business, but a better alternative is expanding internationally.

 

Expanding overseas means tens of millions of new customers for  your products. Amazon sells across 26 different countries globally, and learning to take advantage of that can boost your revenue. The diverse marketplaces also open up new seasonal and holiday opportunities that can grow your sales.  Additionally, you will be strengthening your business’ resilience to market fluctuations by diversifying your profit opportunities across multiple countries.. Finally, European markets tend to be smaller than their US counterparts which means less competition for your product and a shot at that highly coveted “first seller” slot.

 

Marketplace expansion does come with challenges. You’ll need to understand cultural differences and consumer sentiment across the countries where you plan to sell your products. Some American habits or trends may be uninteresting or even off-putting to European customers and you’ll need to optimize your strategy and listings accordingly.

In this post, we’ll dive into the nuances of Amazon’s “big 5” European marketplaces—but first, let’s take a look at some baseline stats for the US Amazon Marketplace for easier comparison.

Amabig 5 amazon's marketplacezon.de

Amazon.de (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands)

When it comes to gross sales, Germany is the largest single market following Amazon’s US marketplace, but it may also be the most different from cultural and regulatory perspectives. German consumers tend to expect a very straightforward and factual representation of products they are interested in, and their purchasing decisions and behaviors tend to reflect as much.

 

Important Rules for Amazon Sellers

When expanding your business to a European market, you need to take into account VAT (Value Added Tax) which is enforced across EU nations. VAT is taken against all sales of goods and services for businesses that are registered with VAT. The rate can vary by country and may even vary across product categories. VAT deserves a full explanation which you can find here.

  • Germany requires a 19% value added tax (VAT), and purchases of at least 25 euro by a non-EU resident can be refunded by the German government.

  • The Netherlands also has an average VAT rate of 21%, with lower rates for essentialss like food and medicine.

  • Luxembourg has an average VAT base of 17% for most consumer products.

  • Belgium has a fairly high VAT base at 21% for many online goods.

  • Austria has a standard of 20% base VAT for most products, and a notably low 10% for books as of January 1, 2020.

 
  • When marketing to Dutch consumers, the most important consideration is consent. If you intend to contact anyone who is not your customer, you must obtain their consent beforehand. On top of that, you need to maintain a record of how and when consent to contact was obtained.

 
  • Standards are relatively similar in the Netherlands, where all websites must have specific information listed including the company name, address, and Netherlands Chamber of Commerce number. Prices, features, payment, and delivery details must also be clearly accessible for all product listings.

 
  • In Belgium, it is also a requirement that labels and information on a product can be read by consumers. Typically, information is provided in both Dutch and French information to maximize access to customers.
 
  • When sending a marketing email, there are a few things that you always need to include, specifically information about the business and information about you (the sender).
 
  • While not illegal, it is not considered appropriate to send emails to Dutch customers during family time, vacation time, or religious holidays.
 
  • Time to return goods can vary a bit between the countries represented on Amazon.de. Germany’s legal minimum time required is 14 days, while Austria’s is only 7. It is common to offer 14 days to Austrian customers both for ease of management and to improve customer satisfaction.

Consumer Trends

  • Apparel is the most popular e-commerce sales category in Germany, though there is also a rapid expansion of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and groceries. In other Dutch countries (particularly Austria and Switzerland), the e-commerce markets tend to look similar to Germany. Trends are predictable in those countries, often following German product purchasing trends from 12 months ago.

 
  • In Austria, clothing and sporting goods are the largest category at 66% of online shoppers, followed by books, magazines, and e-books at 42%

 
  • Fashion and consumer electronics are the frontrunners in Belgium at 61% and 45% respectively

 
  • For Luxembourg, books and magazines dominate e-commerce product purchases (40%), with household items (37%) and electronic equipment (25%) trailing behind.

 
  • The Netherlands has one of the few markets that doesn’t put fashion at the forefront with telecommunication reaching 12.82%, consumer electronica at 7.84%, computer hardware and software at 7.57%, and clothing and shoes at only 7.48%

 
  • German consumers are focused on trustworthy interactions. For example, having a local address that you can associate with your account will make a big impact on your Dutch customer base. Otherwise, they may assume returns and customer service interactions will be difficult (more on returns later)

 
  • The Netherlands has a higher income per consumer than many countries, but consumers also tend to spend conservatively. Using specials and discounts will often attract consumers from the Netherlands more than traditional marketing material

 
  • In Belgium, it is all about convenience and speed. Shopping online is most attractive to consumers because they can shop 24/7 and access products available cross-border

 
  • Dutch consumers will want your credentials and reputation prominently displayed. They are generally not interested in marketing or sales-y content (just honest facts—ideally from a 3rd party). They often look for reviews from other Dutch shoppers, and if applicable will want to see certifications from EU or even Dutch-specific groups (for example, an FDA approval is not meaningful to prospective German customers).

 
  • As mentioned above, German customers tend to know what they want, expect to receive what they paid for, and are very likely to return a product if they do not like it. Outside of returns, they’re also more likely to contact sellers directly or leave a negative review if they’re not satisfied. This behavior is less common in other Dutch countries.

 
  • When making a purchase, over 40% of Dutch e-commerce shoppers prefer to “pay on account” (often called “cash on account” in the US) while 33% prefer to use PayPal or a similar service.

 
  • Online banking is also the favored method in Luxembourg, however credit and debit cards aren’t too far behind (39% for online banking vs 34% for credit/debit).

 

 

Succeeding on Amazon.de will require catering to consumer expectations. However, if you can learn to navigate the legal and cultural requirements to win the consumer’s business, it can have a huge impact on your ROI. Keep your product quality high and your listing honest, and you can take advantage of a very large and loyal market.

big 5 amazon's marketplace

Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom)

The United Kingdom is the second largest European marketplace. With a culture similar to the US’, it is one of the most common targets for expansion. Due to the ease of expanding from one western European marketplace into another , this could be the perfect fit for your business’ global expansion

Important Rules for Amazon Sellers

  • The UK has a fairly high VAT rate at a base 20% rate on purchases and a minimum 30 euro purchase for exporting refunds.

  • When selling in the UK, every imported item will need a “European Identifier Number” (EORI) to pass through customs. Unpaid taxes can delay the delivery of your product by weeks or even months, so be sure to follow the proper processes.

  • Finally, Amazon.co.uk requires a UK return address. You can have this set up through a local company on your behalf.

Consumer Trends

  • The UK has a very strong Amazon marketplace presence, with 91% of consumers having used Amazon for e-commerce shopping (compared to the 56% global average).

  • As for focused selling categories, clothing and apparel rank first in the UK, followed by household goods and films or music (including downloads).

  • One of the most important shopping considerations for the average British consumer is shipping costs. Free shipping is an important factor in UK purchasing trends.

  • There is a growing environmental consideration among UK shoppers as well, with 62% saying that plastic waste and recyclable materials were a concern for purchasing. This is the first year that any consideration will compare to price, which 57% said were their main consideration for purchases.

  • In the UK, card payments are by far the most popular option. 52% of purchases are done with credit cards, the most common being the largest companies, Visa, MasterCard, and Amex.

Amazon.co.uk offers a competitive selling environment, but it could be a great way for your business to ease into the European marketplace. While there is certainly a lot to consider before you grow your business, having a consumer base that is similar to your native country’s can make that transition easier.

big 5 amazon's marketplace

Amazon.fr (France)

The remaining marketplaces are significantly smaller than the two listed above. However, they each have unique characteristics that you should understand to maximize your impact as a global seller. Amazon.fr in particular hosts a lot of cross-border purchases, especially with some of the Dutch countries listed above that also speak French (e.g., Belgium).

Important Rules for Amazon Sellers

 

  • Like many of the previously listed countries, France has a base VAT of 20% on most consumer goods but a relatively high 175.01 euro minimum for refunds.

  • Amazon.fr does have higher sellers fees than other European countries due to a French tax on nearly 30 major companies focused in the US (including Amazon). The 3% tax was passed in 2019.

Consumer Trends

 

  • French consumers expect listings to be in French. 45% of French online shoppers are happy to shop with international brands, but want access to the information in their native tongue. In many French marketplaces, listing in French is actually a requirement.

  • Shipping preferences in France are also slightly different from other countries, as 72% of consumers would prefer to pick up their order at a physical store after ordering online. This allows them to pick up a delivery on their own time and not worry about missing a delivery time slot.

  • Debit cards are the preferred payment method in France with 85% of online shoppers using a card tied directly to their account. French consumers tend to stay away from credit cards.

With Amazon.fr having a smaller number of sellers in general, it can be a good market for your business to expand into. Professional translations of your listings will go a long way, but for the most part, Amazon provides you the tools you will need to reach French consumers. Be aware of your margins, however, and how they will be impacted by the higher seller fees.

amazon.it

Amazon.it (Italy)

Like France, Amazon.it has a smaller seller base which could mean less competition for your growing business. The consumer trends differ a fair amount from those in France. which is important to know when deciding how to expand next. However, if your product is very niche, you could have a lot of success while enjoying the “first to market” advantage.

Important Rules for Amazon Sellers

 

  • Italian VAT sits at a fairly high base of 22% on most goods and a refund minimum of 155 euro.

Consumer Trends

 

  • Italian consumers rely heavily on cross-border e-cCommerce purchases, with most of the nation’s online shopping being imported from either the UK or Germany.

  • Consumer products ranked highly in Italy including electronics and apparel, and as mentioned above, niche retailers have a much higher success rate than standard products.

  • The favored payment method for Italian consumers is Paypal which is not easily supported by Amazon. However, prepaid cards and credit cards follow as the second most popular payment method.

  • Italian shoppers will be put off by any unexpected costs. Be sure that your delivery rates are transparent, and if you are selling from another platform, having multiple delivery options can be a bonus.

  • Localizing the buying experience is the biggest impact you can have on winning over Italian e-commerce consumers. Using the buyer’s language, payment options, and currencies will make them much more likely to purchase your product.

Due to the preference for shopping on UK and German e-commerce sites, having Italy be your first option for global expansion may not be the best use of your time. However, if you feel confident that you have a very niche product and can provide a strong localized listing, you may find that you’ll hit your stride without much competition.

amazon.es

Amazon.es (Spain)

Of the five on our list, Amazon.es  has the smallest number of sellers. However, the opportunity for online revenue is fairly strong and continually growing.

Important Rules for Amazon Sellers

 

  • Spain has an average VAT base rate of 21%, which is just above the standard across Europe. The same can be said for the minimum refund amount, which is 90.16 euro.

Consumer Trends

 

    • When it comes to Spanish shoppers, the convenience of online shopping is the biggest draw. Having orders delivered directly to their homes and the fact that e-commerce is available around the clock are both huge factors listed by customers when asked why they shop online.

    • There are a few large categories that Spanish consumers frequent: fashion at 65%, consumer electronics at 55%, and books/CDs at 46%. While clothing and consumer electronics may be the most popular categories in Spain, they are also the most frequently returned products.

    • Like Italy, PayPal and similar online services are the ideal method of payment for most shoppers, preferred by 77% of consumers. Debit and credit cards aren’t far behind, with 50% of orders processed by cards.

Spain has an interesting e-commerce market, and it is one worth investigating further for any businesses that want to expand soon. Despite the low number of sellers on Amazon.es (and thus less competition), Spanish consumers are eager to shop online and do so regularly. Like many of the above markets, you will want to localize your listing.

Summary

When taking your business to the next level and expanding to the European Amazon Marketplaces (Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es), be aware of legal and cultural considerations in order to succeed globally.

Also, it’s important to watch out for sneaky fees! Learn more about Amazon’s Currency Converter fees here. A good global currency account designed for the needs of ecommerce merchants will give you the ability to store all your currencies and make free payments to VAT authorities. Check out PingPong to learn how you can save and simplify your global payments.

Psst… There’s more savvy know-how to grow your
Amazon business where that came from.