During 2008, the Spanish E-commerce sector grew significantly, both in the B2C and B2B areas. The sector remains highly competitive and offers growth opportunities to U.S. companies, although at a lower rate than in previous years.
Factors that will help this trend are increased penetration of broadband internet in Spain and deployment of the Electronic National Identity Document (e-DNI) that will provide all Spaniards with a personal digital identity certificate.
The B2C market was projected to reach a volume of USD 8.3 billion in 2008, with excellent expectations for 2009. Spanish consumers purchased an estimated USD 332 million from U.S.-based websites in 2008.
Top product categories for online purchases by consumers were travel and hotel, ticket services, electronics, clothing and books. Credit cards were used in 54 percent of the transactions, followed by payment upon receipt of goods (27.7 percent), and bank transfer (11.7 percent).
Online supermarkets linked to a physical chain, such as El Corte Ingles and Carrefour Online, are experiencing strong growth. Leading travel-related websites have gone through considerable consolidation leaving Edreams, Rumbo, Viajar.com and Lastminute.com as leaders in this area.
Spanish companies are maintaining investment levels in proprietary B2B solutions, and major companies are prodding their suppliers to join. Nevertheless, little additional investment is being made. Vertical marketplaces not linked to major buyers are not delivering significant results.
It is estimated that more than 20 percent of companies with more than 10 employees have some B2B activity. For companies with more than 250 employees, B2B activity is closer to 50 percent.
Demand by consumers in areas such as tourism-related products, e-learning, music and software purchases is generating opportunities for e-commerce software solutions for SME´s. Specific applications include advertising and marketing tools, as well as nicheoriented products/services such as web-based CRM.
The current exchange rate between the euro and the dollar enhances opportunities for U.S.-based web marketers, especially for the consumer market