E-commerce and online payments in Spain

Growing at 11% a year, Spain’s e-commerce market is one of Europe’s most dynamic

Countries Spain

Intro Spain

Like most Southern European markets, Spain requires a commitment to localisation and understanding the local culture. But for a merchant able to localise 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 [1]. The country’s own central bank thinks the eventual growth rate could come in at just 4% [2]. 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% [1].

Spain’s unemployment rate was rising in the second quarter of 2022, hitting 13.65% as this report went to press, up from 13.33% in the previous quarter [3]. Throughout 2021 and into mid 2022 retail sales either flatlined or, toward the end of the period, dipped slightly [4].

Spain’s e-commerce market

The average Spanish online shopper spends US$1,384 a year with cross-border and Spanish e-commerce merchants [5]. Worth US$66 billion in 2021, the Spanish e-commerce sector is growing at a rate of 11% a year [5]. E-commerce spending accounts for just under 5% of GDP [5]. The most popular categories are air travel (36%), health and beauty (18%) and electrical goods (15%) [5].

Spanish e-commerce consumers buy 16% of their online purchases from sites outside of Spain and almost 61% of them have shopped cross-border at least once [5]. The value of their purchases is almost US$10 billion [5]. The top three cross-border markets of origin are China (50%), the UK (11%) and Germany (8%) [5]. Spaniards complete 46% of their online purchases using a mobile device [5].

Payment methods in Spain

Local payments in Spain are mainly alternative payments. Cards, which account for 41% of all online payments, are dominated by Visa (73%) and Mastercard (26%) [5]. 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 an 4% market share and bank transfer 14% [5]. Spanish e-commerce shoppers pay for the remaining 11% of online purchases using a range of smaller alternative and local payment methods.

Enabling and limiting factors

91% of Spanish citizens have an Internet connection [5]. 90% of Spaniards live in areas with a network that supports next-generation broadband speeds [6]. 84% of all Spanish citizens have a smartphone [5]. 94% of the adult population has a bank account and 54% has a credit card [5].

Spain ranks 17, out of 160 countries, in the World Bank Global Logistics Performance Index [7].  Spain’s last-mile sector is highly fragmented, with more than 12,000 separate distributors [8]. According to Deloitte, 86% of all e-commerce fulfilment is for home delivery and half of these are for next-day delivery [8]. With parcel volumes rising fast, the market for last-mile logistics is aggressive and highly competitive [8].

According to one recent report, Spain has one of the worst levels of English-language competency in Europe [9]. 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 [9]. Localisation should be a priority for any merchant expanding in Spain.


  1. https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/ESP
  2. https://uk.investing.com/news/economic-indicators/bank-of-spain-could-lower-2022-growth-outlook-governor-says-2651279
  3. https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/spain/unemployment-rate
  4. https://tradingeconomics.com/spain/retail-sales-annual
  5. Original PPRO research
  6. https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/desi-spain
  7. https://lpi.worldbank.org/international/global
  8. Last Mile Logistics Challenges and solutions in Spain, Deloitte, February 2020 (PDF)
  9. https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2019/11/08/inenglish/1573204575_231066.html

Popular Payment Methods in Spain

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Quick facts

shop at particular marketplaces because they had previous good experiences with it, followed by good reviews (20 %) and recommendations from friends or family (17 %).

In 2020 only 53% of Spaniards had bought online. But this number is expected to grow as well known Spanish retailers, like Inditex, move online.

Spain’s economy dropped by 11% in 2020 but is forecast to grow by 6.4% in 2021 and 4.7% in 2022 according to the IMF. Inflation fell in 2020 by 0.3% but is expected to rise by 1% in 2021 and by 1.3% in 2022.

General Information

  • Population 46.8m
  • Population 15 + 40.5m
  • Online Population 42.5m
  • Area 505,990 km2
  • Currency EUR
  • GDP 1,278.2bn USD
  • GDP per Capita 27,132 USD

Payment types

  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"41"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"4"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"14"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"30"},{"label":"Other","value":"11"}]

Banked population
  • Spain 94%
  • Western & Central Europe 94%
  • World 67%
Credit card penetration
  • Spain 54%
  • Western & Central Europe 46%
  • World 19%
Internet penetration
  • Spain 91%
  • Western & Central Europe 91%
  • World 62%
Smartphone penetration
  • Spain 84%
  • Western & Central Europe 75%
  • World 70%

The E-Commerce Market

Top e-commerce segments 2019 | 2020

  1. Airlines & Hotels: 58% | 36%
  2. Health & Beauty: 11% | 18%
  3. Electrical Goods: 12% | 15%
  4. Food & Drink: 5% | 10%
  5. Toys, DIY, & Hobbies: 7% | 10%

Cross-border e-commerce

  1. Cross-border proportion of total e-commerce – 16%
  2. Value of cross-border e-commerce ($US billion) – 9.7
  3. % of online shoppers who have shopped cross-border – 61%

Top 3 cross-border shopping origin markets

  1. China: 50%
  2. UK: 11%
  3. Germany: 8%
E-commerce % of total retail
  • Spain 13%
  • Western & Central Europe 17.6%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • Spain 46%
  • Western & Central Europe 43%
  • World 53%

E-Commerce Trends

  • E-commerce market size ($US billion) 62.4bn USD
  • E-Commerce spending per capita ($US) 1,310 USD
  • E-commerce spending as % of GDP 4.7%

The Credit Card Split

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Other

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.


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