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E-commerce in Spain isn’t worlds away from its European counterparts. But it does have a distinctly Spanish flavour. Here’s how to get it right – and why you should care.

Spanish e-commerce is hardy.

The 2008 financial crisis had a dramatic impact on the Spanish economy – to the extent it had to be bailed out by the European Stability Mechanism in 2012. And yet, in the same year, e-commerce in Spain recorded double-digit growth.

This growth has continued in the years since. In 2018, the market grew by 13%. 72% of Spanish internet users bought something online in the past month – and the average shopper will spend $602 over the course of the year.

With these kinds of stats, it’s no surprise Spain is the largest e-commerce market in southern Europe. Which is what makes it so appealing for brands looking to spread their online influence into new markets.

But although e-commerce in Spain isn’t radically different from its neighbours, you’ll still need a localized strategy. Here’s why – and how to get it right.

E-COMMERCE IN SPAIN: THE KEY PLAYERS

Just like Germany and Italy, Amazon is Spain’s largest e-commerce site. In 2018, they reported sales of $2,674 million.

Amazon’s not the only popular foreign site. Zalando is well-liked too (check out our advice for selling on the site here), as is Veepee. Originally Vente-Privee – the French pioneer of online flash sales – the brand merged with its five subsidiaries (including Spanish site Privalia) in January 2019 to create a more unified identity. Partnering with these sites is a good way to dip your toe in the water if you’re not ready to commit fully just yet.

Spanish e-commerce isn’t just about international marketplaces though. Spanish site El Corte Inglés posted sales of $920 million in 2018, making it the second largest e-commerce site in Spain.

However, unlike its biggest rivals, it’s not purely an e-commerce shop. El Corte Inglés is Spain’s last remaining department store chain – and the third largest in the world. They’ve invested heavily in e-commerce, optimizing customer experience by introducing features like Click & Collect and 48-hour delivery.

The result is they’ve remained successful long after Amazon’s entry into the market. And they offer your brand the tantalizing possibility of omnichannel sales – establishing a partnership with them might allow you to sell your products both in their stores and online.

It’s no secret why these sites have been so successful. They’ve kept pricing competitive, offer fast and free delivery, and provide excellent customer service. You’ll need to do the same to succeed on e-commerce in Spain.

LIVING LA VIDA LOCAL

Given the success of international marketplaces in Spain, you won’t be shocked to hear Spanish people are open to buying from abroad. In fact, 63% of Spanish people like buying from British brands.

But there’s a catch. Poor (or no) translation is an obstacle to cross-border shopping for 41% of Spanish consumers. Localize all your content into (European) Spanish or you could miss out on sales.

Search is the main way Spanish shoppers find new brands and products. Crucially, those customers will spend more than shoppers who didn’t do any research beforehand. To make the most of this, boost your brand’s discoverability by targeting the keywords they’re looking for. Don’t just translate your English keywords – carry out international keyword research.

DELIVER EXPECTATIONS

Of course, simply ranking for the right keywords won’t be enough to convert shoppers into customers. In fact, Spanish shoppers often compare up to ten different sources before buying something, so you’ll need to offer what they’re looking for.

For one, don’t just rely on debit/credit cards for payment. Spanish people are nervous about sharing information online, PayPal is the preferred payment choice for 49% of shoppers, compared to debit/credit cards on 43%. It’s growing in popularity too – 7% more people chose it as their favourite option in 2018 compared to 2017.

Spaniards also have high expectations from delivery and returns. Specifically, they don’t want to pay for them. 48% of Spanish basket abandonments are due to expensive delivery fees, while 92% of Spanish customers think free returns are important. Convince Spanish shoppers to choose your brand by offering these incentives.

Providing options around delivery is also important. Nine out of ten Spaniards believe it’s important to be able to specify a delivery day, while eight out of ten want to choose a specific time slot.

Lastly, don’t forget to offer sales – Cyber Monday is particularly popular in Spain. Free promotional products will also make a big impact with Spanish shoppers.

FINAL THOUGHTS

E-commerce in Spain is not especially different from other European countries. Marketplaces are popular because they provide a variety of payment options, as well as cheap delivery and returns. To compete with them, you’ll need to do the same – and add some Spanish flair by localizing your content.

Need help building up your Spanish e-commerce sales? Get in touch – we’d love to help.