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 e-Biz Concepts

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  The e-Business W@tch is an initiative of the
European Commission
Enterprise Directorate General
E-business, ICT industries and services.

  The European e-business policies portal - a one-stop-shop, on-line environment for all European e-business initiatives.

  The eBusiness legal portal offers information on all legal aspects of e-business, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  eMarket Services: a guide to B2B e-markets, co-funded by the the EC / DG Enterprise.


Sector covered in the first phase 2002/03:Retail    
Sector characteristics

Retail trade is characterised by a complex structure with on one hand very small enterprises and on the other hand large enterprises. The sector is increasingly shaped essentially by a few very large groups or chains exploiting economies of scale, mixed with many small shops serving a local market. The increasingly important role of large enterprises in EU retail trade can be seen from their share in total turnover (about 50%) and employment (about 35%). The e-Business W@tch analysis focuses on the retail activity achieved by large enterprises for food items (55.11), non-food items (55.12) and 52.4.

Code Activity
52.11 Retail sale in non-specialised stores with food, beverages or tobacco predominating
52.12 Other retail sale in non-specialised stores
52.4 Other retail sale of new goods in specialised stores

European food retailing continues to grow as well as the size of its largest players. Most of the biggest European food retailers figure amongst the 50 largest business groups in Europe. Non food retail trade through stores is a much more mature industry. The main activities in the non-food retail industry in stores concern the retail sale of goods like clothes, footwear, home accessories, electrical goods, medical and cosmetic goods, furniture in non-specialised (52.12) and specialised stores (52.4).

Retail trade is one of the industries where e-commerce presents an evident opportunity to develop a completely new trading form with lower transaction costs. E-business directly modifies the trading activity because of the following factors: independence from opening hours, frequent updates of prices and promotion, smaller shops and show-rooms, better stock control, on-line automatic support and after-sales service. As a consequence, logistics, store management, customer retention are all functions likely to be strongly impacted by e-business.

European association(s)

  • EuroCommerce - The Retail, Wholesale and International Trade Representation to the EU; EuroCommerce, 9-31, Avenue des Nerviens 1040 Brussels, Belgium;
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The e-Business W@tch is being implemented and operated by empirica Gesellschaft für Kommunikations- und Technologieforschung mbH (Bonn)
in co-operation with DIW Berlin - German Institute for Economic Research and Databank Consulting spa (Milan), Berlecon Research,
IDATE, PLS RAMBØLL Management, and Saatchi & Saatchi Business Communications