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Online shopping is not yet working smoothly in Europe

Online shopping is not yet working smoothly in Europe

Orders in online shops in other EU countries are often not yet possible or often still cause difficulties for consumers when shopping across borders on the Internet. This is shown by the Europe-wide test purchase study “Cross-border e-commerce in the EU” by the market research and consulting institute Yougovpsychonomics on behalf of the European Commission.

According to this, in around two out of three cases among around 13,000 test buyers from 27 EU countries it was not possible to buy common everyday products such as electrical goods, computers, books, CDs, household goods or clothing online in the other EU member states. With testers from Germany the Internet purchase failed to 60 percent. The main reason for this is that many online retailers do not deliver their products to the country of the respective consumer or do not offer suitable cross-border payment options. According to the European Consumer Protection Commission, the legal maze that prevents online retailers from offering their goods in other EU countries is responsible for this. However, this should change in the future through the standardization of legal provisions.

Alongside Great Britain, Germany is one of those countries to which online retailers in other EU countries deliver around 30 percent of their goods, which is comparatively the most frequent. Consumers from Lithuania, Cyprus, Malta, Romania and Bulgaria are worse off, only around ten percent of whom are supplied by online retailers in other EU countries. The comparison with the even worse conditions can hardly hide the fact that the barriers in European online trade mean that consumers are also losing important shopping advantages. Testers from Germany found the products they were looking for, including delivery costs, cheaper in 39 percent of the cases on foreign websites than in domestic online retailers. In addition, some of the 100 products sought are only available on the websites of foreign suppliers and not in online shops in Germany. The EU Commission wants to promote improvements for consumers and cross-border competition in a targeted manner.