Like most Southern European markets, Spain requires a commitment to localisation and understanding the local culture. But for a merchant able to localize and willing to put the effort into understanding specific consumer needs in Spain, the country offers a potentially lucrative market.
The IMF predicts a growth rate of 4.8% for the Spanish economy . The country’s own central bank thinks the eventual growth rate could come in at just 4% . But even the second figure is a respectable rate of economic expansion and a cause for cautious optimism. In 2023, the growth rate will slip to a projected 3.3% .
Spain’s unemployment rate was rising in the second quarter of 2022, hitting 13.65% as this report went online, up from 13.33% in the previous quarter . Throughout 2021 and into mid 2022 retail sales either flatlined or, toward the end of the period, dipped slightly .
Spain’s e-commerce market
The average Spanish online shopper spends 1,621 $US a year with cross-border and Spanish e-commerce merchants . Worth 77 billion $US in 2021, the Spanish e-commerce sector is growing at a rate of 15.3 % a year . E-commerce spending accounts for 5.7% of GDP . The most popular categories are air fashion (27%), electronics and media (25%), and food and personal care (11%) .
Spanish e-commerce consumers buy 15% of their online purchases from sites outside of Spain and 65% of them have shopped cross-border at least once . The value of their purchases is almost 12 billion $US . The top three cross-border markets of origin are China (54%), Germany (9%) and the UK (7%) . Spaniards complete 40% of their online purchases using a mobile device .
Payment methods in Spain
Local payments in Spain are mainly alternative payments. Cards, which account for 47% of all online payments, are dominated by Visa (57%) and Mastercard (39%) . There are no local card schemes with any significant market share.
Spanish alternative payments are dominated by e-wallets. After card payment, these are next most-common way of paying for online shopping, with a 30% market share of online payments. Cash has a 3% market share and bank transfer 15% . Spanish e-commerce shoppers pay for the remaining 5% of online purchases using a range of smaller alternative and local payment methods.
Enabling and limiting factors
93% of Spanish citizens have an Internet connection . 90% of Spaniards live in areas with a network that supports next-generation broadband speeds . 85% of all Spanish citizens have a smartphone . 94% of the adult population has a bank account and 56% has a credit card .
Spain ranks 17, out of 160 countries, in the World Bank Global Logistics Performance Index . Spain’s last-mile sector is highly fragmented, with more than 12,000 separate distributors . According to Deloitte, 86% of all e-commerce fulfillment is for home delivery and half of these are for next-day delivery . With parcel volumes rising fast, the market for last-mile logistics is aggressive and highly competitive .
According to one recent report, Spain has one of the worst levels of English-language competency in Europe . Nor are there any signs that this is improving. Greece, Portugal and Italy all had similarly low levels of competency when the survey was last conducted but all have subsequently improved, while Spain has not . Localisation should be a priority for any merchant expanding in Spain.
- Original PPRO research
- Last Mile Logistics Challenges and solutions in Spain, Deloitte, February 2020 (PDF)