SparkOptimus News Highlights – Week 11

At SparkOptimus, we try to highlight the most important news and background stories in digital, e-commerce and retail. Here is our selection of last week’s news:

Today, the European Commission published a major report on the state of ‘the single digital market’ within the EU, emphasizing the importance of working towards a single market for online retail and digital content. One of the biggest reasons why e-commerce in the EU is still very much organized on a national instead of on an EU level, is due to the practice of ‘geo-blocking.’ For consumer goods, this comes in the form of offering goods for different prices across European countries, or not shipping goods to certain countries at all. For digital content, it comes mostly in the form of blocking access to content based on location. Why is this important, you would ask? Apart from more series to watch on your European Netflix account, the EU hopes to create a large enough market to combat the growing influence of foreign players, such as the ever-growing Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba.

While Europe struggles to stimulate cross-border e-commerce, (e-commerce) business is booming in China. A ‘dip’ in China’s economic growth (below 7% last year –  the first time since 2009) is sending shoppers online en-masse. It is exactly because of this dip (and not in spite of it) that China’s e-commerce sector is thriving. In challenging times, consumers are more price sensitive, and increased competition drives down prices. As such, it is predicted that China’s e-commerce market will almost double between 2015 and 2020. Although there are some signs of growing confidence in European e-commerce, the question remains whether Europe will be able to tear town its digital borders despite some of its physical borders going up again.

On a lighter note, an orange one to be precise, the West could have some great things to learn from the Chinese when it comes to growing digital connections…