TOP 9 European Marketplaces. Leading B2B and B2C Online Stores in Europe in 2023
Europe is home to diverse ecommerce markets which are shaped by digital skills, purchasing power, and other factors that define ecommerce adoption and growth across the region. However, despite the differences, digital commerce is on the rise in all constituent countries. The largest jump in e-shoppers was seen in 2020-2021, largely due to the pandemic and subsequent quarantines, but the growth rates have remained consistent throughout the years and will likely continue an upward trajectory in the foreseeable future. Since online marketplaces garner almost half of ecommerce sales, we’ll look at them closely in this article.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the largest ecommerce marketplaces in the region, including the best B2B marketplaces in Europe. Some of these marketplaces are perfect for businesses that are looking to expand their reach and sell products and services to new markets, others provide essential supplementary services such as financial or freight forwarding. We'll also provide a brief description of each marketplace, so you’ll have a better opportunity to familiarize yourself with a market.
European eCommerce Market: Facts & Figures
European eсommerce market by countries in 2021
European Online Marketplaces: Overview of the Market Landscape
Total ecommerce revenues in Europe were estimated at €396B (~$465B), with marketplaces accounting for half of this revenue. According to RetailX, the value of European marketplaces were balancing between €120 and €150B in 2021, a significant growth compared to just €100B last year. However, according to recent reports, ecommerce revenue in Europe (as well as globally) have been dropping since last year and dipped 13% in the first quarter of 2022, when compared to that same period in 2021. Salesforce links a decline in sales to rising inflation, high fuel costs, and unstable geopolitical situation (particularly Russo-Ukrainian conflict). As recession looms and consumer purchasing power descreases, experts believe that the dip is likely to continue somewhat and then stabilise. Those unfavorable factors would most likely force businesses to adapt to present market realities and come up with strategies aimed at removing possible friction between consumers and offline/online channels.
While marketplaces are becoming dominant in the region, there are quite a few differences between countries as economic performance, business environment, and language divisions still remain stark. If looked at collectively, online retail in Europe had a 16.2% share of total retail in 2021. But while in Germany, the figure was close to 20%, in Italy, it was just 6%. Despite macroeconomic unity, much of the European market is still divided along geographically, historically, culturally, and linguistically. This way, while it’s true that international giants such as Amazon and eBay remain popular across the board, most domestic marketplaces focus on just one country or a small number of neighbouring states.
B2C Online Marketplaces in Europe: Top Marketplaces in Europe
The largest B2C online marketplaces in Europe 2021
As mentioned and as can be seen from the above chart, Amazon is a leading retail marketplace in Europe with just under one billion visits per month. Although similar in size of GDP and population, Amazon in the US garners double as much traffic as it does in Europe. Such disparity signals two things: there’s significant internal competition from other marketplaces within Europe, and Amazon boasts a larger share of the ecommerce market in the US.
The second-largest B2C marketplace in Europe is eBay. Despite its early popularity, it trails far behind Amazon in all European countries and enjoys only half of Amazon’s traffic.
The most established European marketplaces are unambitiously and quietly operating and growing within their home regions. For example, German OTTO had significantly grown since the pandemic, increasing its revenue in 2020 by 37% compared to its net sales in 2019 while Dutch Bol.com grew its product range by 43% and reached 70 million visits per month in 2021. Polish Allegro has 185 million visits per month, 96% of which come from Poland.
Russian Wildberries have 150 million visits per month, 92% of which are from Russia. Same with Ozon, which gets 95% of its traffic from Russia. Although Wildberries has launched operations in other countries, such as neighbouring Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Israel, the success of these stores is yet to be expected. With that being said, since its launch in Israel, Wildberries has grown rather quickly, achieving $1.1M in sales in 2021, a growth of 121% over the previous year.
Zalando, one of the few large cross-border marketplaces (besides Amazon and eBay), is German but has substantial traffic from Italy, Netherlands, France, Poland, and some other European countries. Another pan-European marketplace ManoMano also enjoys cross-European traffic from countries like France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the UK.
However, as mentioned, almost all the large domestic European online marketplaces focus on their own country.
B2B Marketplaces in Europe
As is the case with B2C, the majority of B2B cross-border commerce in Europe occurs within its geographical borders, while only 30% of B2B cross-border ecommerce is happening outside the region.
According to Statista, B2B ecommerce overshadows the other market segments in terms of sales value, accounting for 90% of total ecommerce sales in some European countries.
Statista research indicates that the key markets in Europe in terms of B2B sales are Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, and Italy. This way, the share of ecommerce sales held by B2B ecommerce in Germany is 79%, while B2B ecommerce revenue of physical goods in the country is projected to reach $183.68B (€174.89B).
The most important factors for B2B buyers when shopping online were reported to be the ability to order customised products, easy return policy, easy checkout, fast delivery, and favourable payment terms.
A recent study “B2B e-commerce NOW” (2022) that surveyed primarily Polish B2B companies confirms the previous findings showing that as many as 41% of companies in Poland have already been selling via ecommerce platforms, while the quarter of respondents expect a significant increase in revenue from this channel (above 20%) over the coming year. As many as 90% of surveyed businesses say that they plan to develop their ecommerce channels in the nearest future, and the majority of those that have already launched their digital portals consider it a success.
Best B2B Marketplaces in Europe
In the table below you can see a list of marketplace companies, some of the best B2B marketplaces in Europe, some of which we’re going to cover in more detail in later sections.
Main B2B Europe marketplaces for products and services as of 2020, by total received funding.
Funding Circle: Best B2B marketplace in Europe for finance
Funding Circle is an online marketplace that allows investors to offer money directly to small businesses, which can borrow up to £1M in the UK, up to $500K in the US, and up to €250K in Germany and the Netherlands for 60 months or less.
Originally designed as a peer-to-peer (P2P) financial marketplace, Funding Circle had to scale back from the P2P sector and close its retail platform to new investments in March 2022. The decision was reached based on the tougher regulatory oversight, which was introduced back in 2019, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that exacerbated the struggles of the already unstable sector. Listed at a valuation of £1.5bn in 2018, Funding Circle had a market value of £100mn by 2020. Although shares rose since then, they are still nowhere near their debut. So, considering the circumstances, retail investment has been gradually shrinking and now represents less than 5% of loans under management.
With that being said, Funding Circle’s pre-tax profit in 2021 was £64.1M, and the company is positive to recuperate its lost positions with new financial products and services in the coming years. Thus, the group expects its income to fall somewhere between £155M and £170M in 2022, reaching £290mn by 2025 (more so if you count its B2B buy now, pay later service, FlexiPay).
Meero: Digital photography European marketplace online
Meero is a unique marketplace of French origin that allows businesses to boost their sales through dazzling photos of their listing. The company is revolutionizing the world of photography both for businesses and professional photographers by providing a platform where those two can work together. Businesses use the platform to find professional photography studios or individuals to create photos for their ecommerce stores, while photographers can find and respond to jobs, invoice customers, and schedule a delivery of a final product.
Meero has developed countless innovations and tools (including those based on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)) to offer businesses customized photo and video offerings around the world. The platform’s end-to-end shoot management includes the full service, from onboarding photographers, allocating work, scheduling logistics with locations, uploading for approvals, managing payments etc.
Meero's platform has already attracted more than 100,000 photographers and 31,000 clients including such online marketplaces as Expedia, Pages Jaunes, and Deliveroo, or such international groups as L'Oréal and Louis Vuitton.
With 93% of consumers saying that visuals are the deciding factor in their purchases, Meero’s proposition is simple – give what those customers ask for: offer outstanding digital visual content.
TravelPerk: Travel management B2B marketplace Europe
TravelPerk is a B2B travel management company that provides travel and expense management services for businesses by automating spending limits and travel policies. Founded in 2015, the company has recently completed its series D funding round raising $275M, giving the company its unicorn status worth $1.3B.
Initially designed as a platform with a rewards program for business travelers, the company soon dropped the rewards element but enabled seamless travel booking with the integration of train booking service to their platform. In 2019, TravelPerk partnered with Lufthansa airlines to provide the customers direct booking facilities. In the same year, the company launched a new product FlexiPerk that gave business travelers 90% refunds on cancellations on all bookings.
Contrary to expectations, TravelPerk survived the pandemic of 2020, taking the time off to reconsider its business strategy and reflect on the needs of the industry in the future. TravelPerk’s management, along with many stakeholders and investors, is betting on the irreplaceability of human interaction, adding that ‘a Zoom call will never be able to replicate the benefits of human-to-human communication.’ Green tech and sustainability are among other things TravelPerk is keen on promoting.
Scoutbee: Supplier intelligence & discovery B2B ecommerce platform
Having won many prestigious awards including Gartner’s Cool Vendor and Spend Matter 50 Vendors to Watch, scoutbee is a recognized leader in AI-driven procurement technology that empowers procurement professionals to make better sourcing decisions. Founded in 2015, scoutbee raised $76m in funding from investors to date.
Supercharged by AI and ML, the platform enables faster end-to-end strategic sourcing projects by providing comprehensive and dynamic supplier data. The company is trusted by industry leaders in automotive, agriculture, energy, FMCG, industrial machinery and serves such customers as Unilever, Audi, and Siemens.
Sennder: Leading freight forwarder B2B marketplace Europe
Sennder is a Berlin-based startup and European leading freight forwarder that offers shippers access to the company’s connected fleet of thousands of trucks. By leveraging their proprietary technology, sennder has built a comprehensive ecosystem of all road logistics processes. In June 2021, sennder raised $80M in funding, increasing the overall investment to $350M and achieving the company's valuation of over $1B. Sennder is mostly growing organically but is also acquiring other smaller companies to scale up faster. For example, in May last year, it bought out Cars&Cargo to achieve a stronger presence in France and Benelux; even previously, in 2020, the company acquired Uber Freight Europe and Everoad. Sennder plans to continue expanding its network, which now covers 12,500 trucks that move one million truckloads, as well as expand its digital offering such as SaaS.
OnTruck: A digital road freight marketplace Europe
Founded in 2016, OnTruck is a digital road freight platform that uses multiple technologies to reduce the number of empty kilometers traveled by freight vehicles. To date, OnTruck has cut the percentage of trucks running without cargo from 44% to 19%, which prevented almost 730,000 kgs of C02 emissions.
OnTruck’s zero-touch load matching of shipments to carriers is based on data algorithms that are used to predict peak demand, while routing shipment to maximize carrier utilization, and dynamic pricing to balance the marketplace. OnTruck enables shippers to book full truck loads for long-haul in the UK and provides access to instant real-time quotes and driver availability. During the volatile market demand during the pandemic, OnTruck proved to be a real life-savior for truck drivers and transport firms as it provided new revenue opportunities that allowed them to re-allocate their manpower and vehicles from less active to more active sectors. As OnTruck continues to grow, new drivers and companies keep on signing up. Among their latest are PepsiCo, Decathlon and Amazon.
OnTruck services offered include distribution (several pickups and drop-offs), partial load (LTL – Less than truck load), and full truckload (FTL).
OnTruck’s ultimate goal is to develop, implement, and scale innovative low carbon solutions in commercial transportation.
Vegshelf: Emerging Europe Marketplace
Ankorstore: European food marketplace
Ankorstore is a fast-growing B2B2C wholesale marketplace, founded in France in 2019 and now present in 23 countries across Europe with local offices in France, Germany, UK, the Netherlands, and Sweden. One can find pretty much anything they want on the marketplace, from household supplies to maple syrup. Since its foundation, the company has partnered with more than 200,000 retailers, florists, coffee-shops and other concept-stores across Europe seeking products that retail giants like Amazon do not offer. As of now, the marketplace offers more than 15,000 European brands to retailers that wish to provide their customers with a differentiated shopping experience and plans to expand its product range as the marketplace grows. In January 2022, Ankorstore reached a valuation of $2B having closed its Series C funding round of $283M (€250 million).
Kompass: Europe wholesale marketplace
Whereas the aforementioned B2B marketplaces are way ahead of the pack in Europe, more continue to pop up. Furthermore, the existing platforms are also doing everything possible to avoid falling behind.
By the way, if you’re considering building a marketplace of your own, Virto Commerce can help. Virto has recently launched a full-fledged marketplace solution Virto Marketplace that can connect to any existing ecommerce platform without replatforming. If interested, schedule a demo now, and see how Virto can help grow your business.