Online shopping has been rolling along in Europe like in the US and much of the rest of the world, both in emerging and developed markets. This is a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down despite still a shaky economic state around the globe and especially in Europe. A consistent bright spot though has been the growth of ecommerce and now with predictions out from Forrester, mobile commerce (or mCommerce) looks to be headed for steady growth as part of that sector as well.

The process of mCommerce specifically through the smartphone (not including tablets) will represent just under 7% of online sales in Europe by 2017. This translates to €19.25 billion or $23.49 billion. As a side note, this statistic illustrates how large the overall market is for online shopping in terms of sales. It is simply an exploding sector of business. These numbers will only look more favorable when shopping from tablets is factored in as well.

The Figures By Year
The report is called the EU Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2012 to 2017 and is clear in its predictions. The following is the set of figures for mobile commerce in the retail, ticket, and travel sectors for the represented span of years.

  • 2012, 2.74 euro, $3.34
  • 2013, 4.62 euro, $5.64
  • 2014, 7.42 euro, $9.05
  • 2015, 10.76 euro, $13.13
  • 2016, 14.66 euro, $17.89
  • 2017, 19.25 euro, $23.49

The average spend of each buyer in this market is expected to rise as well from €201 in 2011 to €227 in 2017, but surprising that is not where the power of the growth comes from. Rather, it is in the increase of overall volume of mobile shoppers that particularly seek lower-cost items.

Reasons for Growth
There are a couple factors in play with this growing trend. First, smartphone growth is a large catalyst as more and more users are adopting the new technology. Reports vary regarding the actual adoption rate for the smartphone across Europe but it is roughly between 45-50% in Western Europe.  Beyond the simple increase in the device’s penetration, is the comfort level that consumers will ascertain in the coming years getting more familiar with the processes of using the device for mobile shopping.

It will be become more convenient and shoppers will trust it to greater degrees. As this occurs, mobile shopping will reach mainstream adoption by 2017 and at that time the population that will be buying products will be 79 million up from 7.6 million in 2011.

Additionally, the report indicates that impulse purchases like books and DVDs will be a driver of this growth and location is a big motivator for items that make location relevant like ticketing.

Takeaway
Businesses in this market need to understand that this is a trend that is only going to develop further. Companies that are already engaged in e-commerce should develop m-commerce capabilities if they have not already done so, and businesses who have neither should initiate the development of both. This depends largely on the aims and ability of a particular company to support adding these web solutions, but there is positive potential for many businesses across the spectrum. Those companies selling impulse-buy type products, as detailed earlier with book and DVDs, are especially positioned to receive benefit from this activity.

E-Commerce and SEO agencies that work to redevelop shopping platforms and bring increased numbers of online visitors to it to ultimately increase sales are also positioned to assist in this positive trend. Drawing in the mobile shopper requires a varied tool set that is unique to the standard online shopper because the experience is inherently different.

Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com or @ryanwbudd for more information about mCommerce growth in Europe or how your business could benefit from adding mCommerce solutions.

I have written a considerable amount before about how technology and the search industry is challenging the existing legal frameworks that are present around the world in new ways. This is due to the constant evolution of the industries involved as they change and adapt very quickly, but also it is largely all new. In many cases, never before have the existing laws, whether antitrust or other, been applied in these ways and thus, new interpretations of the laws need to be made. This does not impact the search marketing industry as much as it does the tech sector, but when dealing with Google, their activity and any changes to their operations, greatly impact the internet marketing and optimization for improved search results.

In light of Google’s ongoing (18-month) antitrust investigations both in the US and EU, legal interpretations of this kind are being directly related to their case. Although some are calling Google’s ethics into question, I lean towards the idea that Google is trying to stay within the law and work out how best to do so while staying the dominant player in search, considering the often cloudy landscape of internet operations and how rulings impact what they do.

As reported by various outlets and detailed specifically by Search Engine Watch, the European Commission (EC) has now sent to Google a list of four things they want them to address in order to end the ongoing investigation.

  • General Search – The EC takes issue with the way Google shows links to its vertical search services in comparison to the way it links to its competitors’ vertical services.
  • Copied Content- There is concern that the copying of content from competitor websites for use “in their own offerings” could discourage these entities from creating this content.
  •  Additionally, there is worry regarding the agreements that Google has with its partners for paid search ads.
  • Lastly, the EC wants Google to address the restrictions that Google places on moving the search ad campaigns for AdWords to other competitor platforms.

The Commission’s perspective is that they are reaching out to Google and offering a way for them to rectify the issues that they see before any further legal action would be taken, essentially giving them a way out. This way out, however, includes Google changing their practices, something that is yet to be determined that they are willing to fully do. Reports are now saying that Google has responded asking for more specific detail regarding “precise” occurrences of the accusations, and that they would assess after receiving such information. A conclusion to this case is near, but still very much developing.

Yes, that title is tongue-in-cheek, as there is certainly no one size fits all plan. Reading any of my previous writings here, if there is one recurrent theme or underlying message toward international SEO and internet marketing in a new international market, it is that marketers must cater to the new context. They need to do their homework in understanding the local environment and how culture, language, and the societal structure (political, judicial, etc.) will impact the operations of the business – and act accordingly.

Following this approach, having statistics and informative detail on each market is essential in making a decision regarding which international market to enter or how to act once in that market. That is what this post supplies, as I detail below the differences between individual European markets and what it means for businesses.

Web Usage
Over 385 million Europeans were using the internet in February of this year. Looking at the total number of internet users in each country, businesses can get an idea of how many potential customers they can gain access to through their internet marketing efforts, specifically through search results, leveraging paid search and SEO. If a company’s products are niche, with more people there is a greater potential for a larger number being in your niche market. With a more general product, the same rule applies but there is even greater possibility for a wider audience.

The raw numbers are largely based on population but also the accessibility and quality of internet infrastructure in each country. Russia has the most web users with 54.5 million and is growing quickly, followed by Germany with 50.9, France with 42.9, and the UK with 37.4. From there, Spain, Turkey, and Italy range from 21.4 to 28.2, Poland has 18, the Netherlands 11.9, and Sweden 6.2 – according to recent comScore numbers.  Additionally, the number of hours spent online is important. The UK led all in Europe with 36.7 hours spent on average in February, followed by the Netherlands with 43.8, and Turkey with 33.9. The translates to the extended amount of exposure businesses can get with each web user.

Web Activity
It also helps to know what kind of web activity is popular in specific countries to add in additional information to targeting decisions regarding where to advertise and how other subject matter can be leveraged. Like those of most regions, Europeans like their sport, and it shows in online activity. Over 177 million web users in Europe, which is 45.8% of the total in the region, visited a sport-related website in February. Turkey (70.7%), Ireland (69.8%), Spain (65.9%), and the UK (64.3%) led the region with the percentages of the internet audiences in each market seeking out a sport-related site in February.

Companies make a point to advertise on sports-sites, given the alignment of additional audience demographic information (male-female, etc.). More specifically, promotions initiated on social media platforms can spur people to utilize sport-related sites in an innovative way to gather information for example, that can be posted back to the company pages. Partnerships can be established as well that could make further cross-promotion possible.

Check back tomorrow for the second installment of this post where we’ll look at social media in the region and address its role for businesses’ internet marketing.  And for more information about getting online across European markets or how SEO Companies can assist with organic search, ppc, and social media to improve your online visibility, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.