Belgian online payment preferences

Discover the local payment methods Belgians use to shop online and in store

Countries Belgium

Belgium is a rich and sophisticated online market with few structural barriers to entry. The main obstacles a newcomer should prepare to face are localisation, the need to offer local payment methods, and the high level of competition they are likely to face in a sophisticated and already crowded market.

The country’s payment culture is almost Anglo-Saxon, with 45% of all purchases paid for by card [1]. The next most-popular payment method is bank transfer, with a 19% share of e-commerce payments [4]. E-wallets come in third, with 14% [1].

The IMF expects the Belgian economy to grow by 2.1% in 2022, down from 6.3% in 2020 [2]. In 2022, the fund forecasts a further drop in the rate of expansion to 1.4% [2]. By summer 2022, euro area inflation had reached almost 9% [3]. In Belgium, Eurostat reports an even higher rate of inflation, at around 10.5% [3].

The e-commerce market

E-commerce in Belgium is growing at a rate of almost 18% a year [1]. The average consumer spends 1,193 $US a year online [1]. The total value of the Belgian e-commerce market in 2021 is over 13 billion $US [1], expanding to over 21 billion $US by 2026 [1].

In 2018 the Belgium government lifted the ban on evening and Sunday work which sped up online deliveries in 2019. In 2021 the Belgium postal service Bpost invested in expanding e-commerce logistics after an upsurge in deliveries in 2020 [4]. From 1st July 2021 taxes are charged on all e-commerce purchases made in Belgium whether the purchase is shipped from within the EU or not, and is chargeable from the first cent [5].

With large neighbors to the north and south sharing the country’s national languages, Belgians are relaxed about buying cross-border, with a cross-border proportion of 23% of total e-commerce [1]. Out the 27 countries in the EU, only in seven are consumers more likely to shop cross-border than they are in Belgium [6].

Belgian e-commerce enabling and limiting factors

Almost 100% of the adult population in Belgium has a bank account. 51% has a credit card [1]. Both figures are above the average for Western and Central Europe. The financial infrastructure in Belgium is sophisticated, ubiquitous, and highly developed. 

The smartphone penetration is at 84%. This is predicted to rise to 88% by 2025 [7]. 83% of Belgian Internet users have a Facebook account, 69% have a YouTube account and 66% use WhatsApp [8]. 72% of Belgians say they have bought something online in the last month (33% using a mobile device) [8]. 

Belgium is ranked third in the World Bank’s Global Logistics Index, which is based on a worldwide survey of global freight forwarders and express carriers. The index measures factors such as customs performance, infrastructure quality, and timeliness of shipments.

  1. Original PPRO research
  2. https://www.brusselstimes.com/news/business/141637/belgium-targets-e20-billion-stimulus-package-to-restart-the-economy
  3. https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2020/04/belgium-government-and-institution-measures-in-response-to-covid.html
  4. https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/BEL
  5. https://www.jpmorgan.com/merchant-services/insights/reports/belgium-2020
  6. https://www2.deloitte.com/be/en/pages/tax/solutions/The-2021-e-Commerce-VAT-package-Deloitte-Belgium-Tax.html
  7. http://www.investinwallonia.be/news-1/news-2/belgium-seventh-best-european-country-for-cross-border-e-commerce
  8. https://www.statista.com/statistics/568069/predicted-smartphone-user-penetration-rate-in-belgium8. https://www.moondustagency.com/knowledge-center/digital-landscape-social-media-belgium-2020

Page index

Reach out to talk about payments in Belgium.

Get in touch

Quick facts

Since 2018 there is no ban on evening and Sunday work anymore which has been speeding up online deliveries in 2019. In 2021 the Belgium postal service Bpost invested in expanding e-commerce logistics after an upsurge in deliveries in 2020.

Belgium’s economy dropped by 6.4% in 2020 but is forecast to grow by 4% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022 according to the IMF. Inflation also rose in 2020 by 0.4% and is expected to rise by 1.7% in 2021 and by 1.9% in 2022.

From 1st July 2021 taxes are charged on all e-commerce purchases made in Belgium whether the purchase is shipped from within the EU or not, and is chargeable from the first cent.

General Information

  • Population 11.5 m
  • Population 15 + 9.6 m
  • Online population 10.8 m
  • Area 30,689 km2
  • Currency EUR
  • GDP 581.8 bn $US
  • GDP per capita 40,420 $US

Payment types

  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"45"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"4"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"19"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"14"},{"label":"Other","value":"18"}]

Banked population
  • Belgium 100%
  • Western & Central Europe 96%
  • World 67%
Credit card penetration
  • Belgium 51%
  • Western & Central Europe 47%
  • World 19%
Internet penetration
  • Belgium 94%
  • Western & Central Europe 92%
  • World 62%
Smartphone penetration
  • Belgium 84%
  • Western & Central Europe 81%
  • World 70%

The E-Commerce Market

Top e-commerce segments

  1. Fashion: 31%
  2. Electronics & Media: 23%
  3. Toys, Hobby & DIY 20%
  4. Furniture & Appliances: 16%
  5. Food & Personal Care: 11%

Cross-border e-commerce

  1. Cross-border proportion of total e-commerce – 23%
  2. Value of cross-border e-commerce – 3.1 bn $US
  3. Online shoppers who have shopped cross-border – 75%

Top 3 cross-border shopping origin markets

  1. The Netherlands: 35%
  2. France: 23%
  3. China: 17%
B2C e-commerce growth 20->21
  • Belgium 17.9%
E-commerce % of total retail
  • Belgium 9%
  • Western & Central Europe 17%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • Belgium 36%
  • Western & Central Europe 44%
  • World 53%

E-Commerce Trends

  • E-commerce market size 13.8 bn $US
  • E-commerce spending per capita 1,193 $US
  • E-commerce spending as % of GDP 2.4

The Credit Card Split

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Local Schemes
  • Other
[{"label":"Visa","value":"5"},{"label":"Mastercard","value":"7"},{"label":"American Express","value":"1"},{"label":"Local Schemes","value":"82"},{"label":"Other","value":"5"}]

The information on our Insights pages has been compiled by us in cooperation with Datamatics and Wright & Brown. The data shown is partially owned by us and partially owned by GlobalData. © 2021 by PPRO Financial Ltd. No data and information can be used for any further publication without the explicit approval of PPRO.

Sales-more-questions-component

Let’s talk about
payment methods in Austria!

Offer your customers locally preferred payment methods today.

Need more info

Find the country you
want to sell in by region

United Kingdom United States Germany
Select a country