Belgian online stores are getting better at competing with multinational giants, according to figures from BeCommerce.
“E-commerce is becoming an important channel in the total sales of physical shops, rather than a separate fact,” said Sofie Geeroms, Managing Director at BeCommerce.
Albums, books and newspapers in particular are doing better and better in the Belgian online market, and one reason is the growing purchasing power of Gen Z.
That generation is “looking for entertainment beyond the smartphone screen” and seeking out the options much older generations had.
The charm of a vinyl record for a digital generation
“More and more, it seems that products like records and books have reinvented themselves and the charm of a vinyl record or a paper and book prevails over the digital experience in the long run,” Geeroms said, pointing to TikTok trends like #booktok that encourage people to put down an e-reader and pick up a physical book.
“Young people are reverting to paper books and sharing their reading experiences online. Despite the fact that they read the book on paper, the list shows that the books are bought online.”
Standaard Boekhandel is one of the stores benefiting from the trend – it ranks among the top 15 on BeCommerce’s Shopping100 list of successful Belgian eshops. Its website devotes an entire section to “as seen on TikTok.”
“Thanks to e-commerce, these analogue products are experiencing a digital revival. That shows once again the power of e-commerce,” said Geeroms.
While the companies with the largest digital footprint remain well-known players like Facebook and Twitter, shopping websites like Bol.com and CoolBlue are rising. Mobility apps (De Lijn, STIB, SNCB) are also becoming more popular as they optimise themselves for user-friendliness.
“The Belgian consumer is gaining more confidence in e-commerce,” said Geeroms. “Consumers are increasingly turning to webshops to buy more expensive products as well.”