Europe is one of the continents that will continue to grow and offer attractive sales opportunities for foreign brands. The increasing popularity of online sales through marketplaces has made them more attractive for brands to sell fashion, furniture, or beauty products. We all know the big global players like Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress, but if you only have them as your marketplace options, you give away valuable sales and growth potential.
We give you an overview of the European marketplaces that can offer your US brand an attractive profit opportunity beyond the big players, and how to be part of them to successfully expand into Europe.
Amazon and E-bay
Amazon and E-bay are well established worldwide. In particular, in Europe, they have long been established market players since the late 1990s, according to web retailers. Looking at the website traffic in Europe (excluding the UK), Amazon represents 19% compared to 38% for the US, and eBay 22% compared to 41% for the US. Although these two platforms are essential in the e-commerce industry, other marketplaces are just as competitive and more common in the region. Let’s also not forget that the Chinese platform AliExpress, which is enjoying growing success, especially in Eastern Europe, is also gaining popularity.
Online Marketplaces continue to grow after the pandemic
Over the last few years, European marketplaces have become a popular tool crucial to e-commerce growth. In 2021, e-commerce sales were estimated at 396 billion euros, with marketplaces estimated at around 120 billion to 150 billion euros. This means about half of the e-commerce sales.
Although Europe is a diverse market, international, regional and local marketplaces have been able to penetrate and grow. The largest market in the EU is Germany. Some of the most popular marketplaces, such as Otto, AboutYou and Zalando, offer US brands great opportunities to grow in the European market.
Successful European Marketplaces
Expanding your US brand into Europe offers many advantages, which you can find in our previous blog, “How to Expand Your Brand into Europe Successfully.” Looking at the critical role that marketplaces play in the e-commerce industry in this region, it is crucial to keep your options open, especially when selling fashion through other famous and successful marketplaces, that can help you achieve a smoother entrance, market penetration, brand awareness and desired revenue.
We present some of the most popular and profitable marketplaces for US brands to expand to Europe, and how we can help you become part of this ever-growing European sector.
Best alternatives to Amazon and eBay for US Fashion and Lifestyle brands to expand into Europe
If you are a US fashion and lifestyle brand looking for marketplaces that offer more than low price products, then the following list is for you. These marketplaces are more user experience focused and are experts in the e-commerce fashion and lifestyle industry.
As mentioned, Germany, the most significant EU market, is home to the most famous European marketplaces specializing in fashion and lifestyle products. They focused on offering consumers a platform to shop for lifestyles rather than low-price products.
- Founded in 1949, it is Germany’s most prominent fashion and lifestyle marketplace.
- Online sales of more than €11 billion
- Over 3,400 sales partners
- 11.5 million active customers
- 3.6 million new customers
- Zalando was established in 2008 as a pioneer in e-commerce, becoming one of Europe’s most innovative fashion platforms.
- Presence in 23 European countries
- Net sales of around €8 billion
- More than 5,800 brands
- 49 million active customers
- About You, founded in 2014, is one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in Europe and Hamburg’s first unicorn since 2018.
- Active in 26 European markets
- Sales over €1.17bn
- Over 3,500 brands
- More than 45 million unique active users per month
As the fifth largest economy in the EU, the Netherlands is an excellent market for US brands to consider expanding. It has strong links to the rest of Europe and has the largest port (Rotterdam) and one of the largest cargo airports in Europe (Schiphol Airport). This country also offers consumers hungry for new innovative and high-quality products.
- Bol.com was established in 1999 and is now the most extensive online shop in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- Over 5,400 sales partners
- 112 million visits per month
- 13 million customers in the Netherlands and Belgium
- 7,000 collection points in the Netherlands and Belgium
As e-commerce sales in Eastern Europe grow, more customers are eager to buy products online. In 2020, sales were $49.22 billion; in 2022, they are expected to be around $69.42 billion. Although demand has increased, there is not much competition yet, so it is the right time for US brands to pay attention to this market and secure market share. Countries such as Poland, Hungary, and Latvia are the ones to look at in this region.
- Van Graaf was founded in 2001 under Peek & Cloppenburg KG in Wroclaw, Poland.
- The online store Vangraaf.com was launched in Poland in 2016
- VAN GRAAF is one of the leading fashion retailers of high-quality basic garments and international lifestyle brands for men and women.
- Presence in six European countries
- Up to 200 international labels are available offline and online.
How can we help you join any of these European marketplaces?
Yes, we know that expanding into Europe has many advantages. It can also be difficult to face the challenges alone. Some are different time zones, customs, regulations, logistics, and local peculiarities, such as language and culture.
This is where we, as BorderGuru, come in and be your partner to help you successfully and without hurdles expand into Europe. BorderGuru Channels provide your brand with all the tools you need to be part of the most well-known European marketplaces and sell your products to millions of potential customers in 27 EU countries.
We provide your business with content localization, tax and legal compliance, logistics, customer service and much more to successfully aggregate and accelerate your brand in the European market.