(The Hosting News) – By the end of 2012, 76,500 online shops in 75 countries worked with ePages, the world’s leading provider of online shop software for small and medium-sized businesses. More than 90% of these ePages shops are run from Germany, Spain, Italy, Great Britain and France. Last year, the number of ePages online shops in these five markets grew by nearly 60%. “For ePages, 2012 was a fantastic year. We gained new resellers worldwide. With all our partners, we made existing customers even more successful and attracted a lot of beginners in e-commerce,” says Wilfried Beeck, CEO of ePages GmbH.
ePages benefited from a growing European e-commerce market in 2012. Neither the Euro crisis nor the weak economies in some countries were able to stop the positive trend. Even in countries such as Spain and Italy, the industry saw dynamic developments despite the crisis. In Southern Europe, like in the North, consumers are increasingly shopping on the Internet. Therefore, many Southern Europeans are considering online business as a career opportunity. Established markets such as Germany and the UK have been growing stable for many years and continue to offer good prospects.
ePages online shops achieved high growth rates in 2012. In the traditionally strong fourth quarter alone, online merchants achieved an average 27% revenue growth compared to the same period in 2011 (this refers only to those shops that had already been online in the 4th Quarter of 2011). The share of page views from mobile devices has more than doubled from 4 to 10% across all countries. With ePages online shop software, merchants are fit for mobile business as all pages are automatically optimized for tablets and smartphones.
In 2012, Britain defended its leading position in online sales volume across Europe. English as a world language and the widespread use of credit cards are strategic advantages. Last year, e-commerce sales reached an estimated volume of 77 billion pounds, 13% more than the previous year, according to forecasts by Internet Retailing and industry association IMRG.* Growth rates are at their most stable level in a long time – but are not as high as Southern European countries with pent-up demand. ePages is one of the industry drivers improving the capability of UK e-commerce: The company supported, for example, Royal Mail’s “Simple Ways to Grow” initiative, which is dedicated to helping small and young firms set-up and achieve their potential. This initiative encompasses various services, including marketing and e-commerce software. The number of ePages online shops in the UK grew at double-digit rates in 2012.
The Germans’ desire to switch to online shopping is unbroken and the healthy economy is an additional boost for demand. German e-commerce sales grew to 27.5 billion euros in 2012, according to forecasts. This is 26.5% more than 2011, say retailers’ association BVH. It’s not only large and established shops that benefit from the increasing volume. Although many owners of brick and mortar shops are moving online, for others e-commerce is a stepping stone to self-employment. In Germany, the number of ePages online shops rose by 16% in 2012 year-on-year.
Spain and Portugal
The solid growth of Spanish online retail contrasted with the overall economic development. In the first quarter, e-commerce sales increased by 19.3% year-on-year to 2.45 billion euros. The second quarter saw a growth of 13.7% to 2.64 billion euros, say the regulator CMT. Spanish retailers and entrepreneurs are currently very interested in entering online business, with growth and employment opportunities as some of the main reasons. ePages acknowledged these trends and addressed e-commerce newcomers in a broad-based cooperation with Arsys and Google, among other providers.
In Portugal, ePages, together with partner Amen, supported the PME Digital initiative by the Ministry of Economy. The initiative brings small businesses online, makes them familiar with e-commerce and thus enables them to be more competitive.
The French e-commerce industry has seen several consecutive years of double-digit growth and is now regarded as established. Although the rapid growth periods may be over, the industry association FEVAD still expects a 20% growth in e-commerce sales to 45 billion euros for 2012.
Italy is a relatively small market in Europe – but a fast-growing one. The country is quickly closing in on France, Germany and Britain. In 2012, e-commerce sales are expected to have risen by 25.5% to reach a total of 12.4 billion euros, say eMarketer. A milestone for ePages in Italy was reached in 2012 with the start of an e-commerce offering by Aruba, the first Italian hosting provider.
With more than 75,000 online shops, ePages (www.epages.com) is the world’s leading provider of online shop software for small and medium-sized businesses. Our resellers are hosting providers, logistics, telecommunications and yellow pages companies. With ePages, merchants can easily create professional online shops, complete with up to 15 languages, search engine optimization, individual design and optimization for mobile devices, without prior knowledge. Thanks to regular updates, ePages online shops are always up-to-date with the latest e-commerce trends. ePages collaborates with more than 60 technology partners, such as online market places, price comparison sites, payment providers and ERP vendors. Both ePages partners and customers benefit from our 15+ years of experience. The company has headquarters in Hamburg with additional offices in London, Barcelona, Boston and Jena.