Voice of the Industry

Spain – overview of key ecommerce insights and trends

Monday 10 April 2023 14:17 CET | Editor: Raluca Constantinescu | Voice of the industry

This is a snapshot of the insights that matter most when measuring the size and type of opportunities in the ecommerce market in Spain.


General overview and facts and figures 

In Spain, 51.2% of the population shopped online in 2021 (compared to 42.1% in 2019), and the number of ecommerce users is expected to reach the 70% figure in three or four years. Moreover, the Spanish ecommerce sector grew from a share of 7.8% in 2019 (approximately EUR 24 billion) to 10.9% in 2021 (approximately EUR 33 billion), and recent global events played an important role in accelerating shopper adoption of digital channels. 

The tendency towards digital was noticeable before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the lockdowns imposed throughout Spain sped up a multitude of changes in consumer behaviour, among which the increased popularity of online and omnichannel shopping is particularly significant. 

Consequently, customers hold values such as authenticity or diversity in high regard, and they expect increasingly personalised shopping experiences. That is one of the reasons why social media has become more relevant in 2022, and social commerce started to gain more ground among Spanish shoppers. 


The cross-border opportunity 

Since the ecommerce sector in Spain is expected to see major growth in the following years, online retailers that want to sell across borders should grasp this opportunity to expand their business in the region. Seeking goods from well-established ecommerce markets, Spanish shoppers already turn to cross-border commerce in large numbers – according to Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), 41.4% of the ecommerce revenue from Q2 2021 was to Spain, and 58.6% corresponds to purchases carried out across borders, through foreign locations. 

In addition, these cross-border transactions totalled approximately EUR 8 billion (up 12.1% on the figure from Q2 2020), and 87% of purchases from Spain with destinations in foreign locations was sent within the European Union, followed by the UK (7.2%). Introducing a Spanish language option for streamlining sales is a must, as poor or non-existent translation represents a major obstacle to cross-border shopping for Spanish consumers. 

It is noteworthy that China-based AliExpress is one of the most visited shopping platforms in the country, most probably because Spanish consumers are price-conscious, constantly looking towards online marketplaces for budget-friendly offerings. In fact, in 2019, Alibaba opened here its first physical store in Europe, combining physical and online retailing, and ever since, it opened five more stores throughout Spain. Another development attesting Alibaba’s popularity in Spain is its partnership with El Corte Ingles


The local payments space 

Cards are the primary way to pay online in Spain, followed by e-wallets and bank transfers. What’s more, BNPL’s popularity has increased among younger Spanish consumers, and in recent years, several providers launched in Spain, such as Clearpay or Klarna (with their ‘Pay in 3’ solution). 

Bank transfers are set to grow as well, and brands like Bizum, Trustly, and MyBank are already present in this market. Bizum, a Spain-based mobile payment service that is marketed by 31 banks, has become very popular during the pandemic, and the company has announced several changes regarding the transactions made via its platform. 

Merchants wanting to penetrate the Spanish market should pay attention to e-wallet transaction costs, and they should also be aware of an elevated risk of failed payments, due to the country’s strict fraud barriers. 

Preferred payment methods in Spain 

Preferred payment methods in Spain

Source: Global Data Information 2021 


Logistics, refunds, and return policies 

In Spain, the state-owned company responsible for postal service is Correos, and it is also the most frequently offered delivery service provider among online stores. As such, the top three shipping service companies offered by online retailers in Spain are Correos, followed by SEUR and UPS. The delivery price together with the flexibility of the delivery date are two of the factors determining the success of an online sale, with 52% of respondents to the Veepee and IESE Insight study saying they will not purchase a product online if they have to pay for its delivery and 40% stating they won’t do so if the delivery date is not specified first. 

In 2021, six out of ten Spanish online shoppers expected the delivery of their online orders to take place in three to five days. What is more, nine in ten consumers believe it is relevant to be able to choose a specific delivery day, and eight out of ten also want to specify the exact time slot. Therefore, providing multiple choices regarding the delivery process is important in getting Spanish shoppers to choose a certain brand. 

Refund and return policies for Spanish ecommerce merchants are governed by EU rules. They stipulate that traders must repair, replace, reduce the price, or offer a refund to customers if the goods bought turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised. 

Additionally, if one buys a product or a service online or outside of a shop (by telephone, mail order, and so on), they have the right to cancel and return the order within 14 days, for any reason and without providing a justification (exemptions include products such as perishable goods and drinks, personalised items, and digital goods). 

Across the EU, traders must provide a refund (including shipping) within 14 days of receiving a shopper’s cancellation request, but they can delay the process if they haven’t received the goods or evidence that they have been returned. 

This snapshot was first published in 2022 in ‘eCommerce Insights and Trends Snapshot: Spain’, an eBook produced by The Paypers in association with our partner ACI Worldwide – and based on data from ACI Worldwide. Download your free copy of the eBook here to gain access to a much more comprehensive analysis of the main trends and developments in the Spanish ecommerce market. 

About Raluca Constantinescu 

Raluca is Lead Editor at The Paypers, currently using her research skills to explore the latest trends and developments in the payments and ecommerce space, with a particular focus on cross-border payments, marketplaces and online platforms, and payment methods. She is responsible for various activities ranging from organising interviews with industry experts to coordinating and creating the content strategy for large-scale, industry-specific reports and eBooks, analysing the hottest topics of today and discussing them with thought leaders, and representing The Paypers at various payments and ecommerce industry events. Connect with Raluca on LinkedIn.

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Keywords: ecommerce, online shopping, COVID-19, omnichannel, social commerce, cross-border payments, cross-border ecommerce, retail, merchants, marketplace, credit card, debit card, e-wallet, bank transfer, BNPL, mobile payments, cross-border logistics, refund
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Spain
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce