European Customer Behavior
E-commerce, Emerging Markets, EU E-commerce, Sales, Western Europe

European Customer Behavior

Expanding into a new market can be scary for any business owner. There are so many new regulations, transaction processes, and specific shopping habits to take into consideration. But those who take risks take profits. Europe is a safe bet for any e-commerce business to expand due to European customer behavior. Over the years, there have been many studies that show us the habits online shoppers have on the continent. Getting to know your customers can be the biggest challenge, but also the most important part of increasing your sales. 

Europeans take up a big chunk of the world’s e-commerce market. Out of the top 10 countries most ready to benefit from e-commerce, 7 are in fact located in Europe. With 1 in 4 Europeans purchasing at least once a week during the last year, it is an easy way to increase your sales. With 25.5% of e-commerce sales in Europe being cross-border according to the Top 500 Cross-Border Retail Europe study, the industry is worth a whopping 146 billion euros. It sounds like a solid investment, but European customers might be different than what you are used to so far. 

Europeans are swift shoppers 

Customer behavior can vary from country to country when it comes to the timeframe needed to buy something. The timeframe between seeing the item first and finalizing the payment was the shortest for Italians and Spaniards, while their French neighbors needed to think things over. However, studies show that on average it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes for a European to purchase something online. 

The average online shopper placed an order online 1.9 times per month making the 3-month average 5.3 purchases per customer. Even with shopping cart abandonment rates, customers were still spending a hefty amount of money on their online purchases. 

5% of spending goes to recurring payments

Web sales make up most of the payments Europeans made in 2020. Out of all spending from any individual consumer, on average 5% was going towards subscriptions and recurring payments. The 130 euros per month per consumer amounted to 350 billion euros of purchases within a year. 


Every country in Europe is different. So, it’s no surprise consumers of these countries have different online payment methods they prefer to use.  When it comes to paying for the goods they have ordered online, shoppers in Europe globally prefer to pay through alternative payment methods and digital wallets.

In Europe, there are many different payment methods. Often each country has its own list of popular systems. It comes as no surprise that common payment systems such as SEPA are high on the list of favorites as it gives customers complete control over their finances. Additionally, with a steady decline in credit card usage in Europe as stated by Mastercard, reaching European customers means adapting to their payment habits as well and providing them with local methods in their own currency. 

Shipping and delivery

It is not surprising that shipping is an important part of the shopping experience in Europe. Considering the number of cross-border purchases is increasing, this is something to keep in mind. 70% of European customers are ready to purchase a second item if it means free shipping. However, in case they are not eligible for free shipping, the cost makes a very big difference alongside the speed and efficiency of delivery.  

The key factor in the satisfaction of European customers

With products readily available and fast shipping and checkout, the payment process still poses a serious issue for many e-commerce business owners. A whopping 42% of online shoppers prefer to pay through cardless alternative payment methods. In Europe, there are many different payment methods available to customers in each country. Therefore merchants often work with one of the many payment providers such as AlternativePayments that have a gateway to several payment solutions.

Take on Europe with AlternativePayments

With the help of AlternativePayments, you can explore a new market and boost your sales. European customers have their preferred local payment methods, but we have our preferred way to help you take your business to a whole new level. Contact us at or head out to our website to get a FREE test account now.