FCR Media Belgium: "barely one in four belgian smes is involved in e-commerce".
Antwerp, 21 October 2021 - One in three Belgian consumers thinks they will buy more online in the post-COVID era than before the coronacrisis, but many smaller Belgian companies - despite the coronacrisis - have not yet found their way to online trade. This is according to research from the Belgian digital marketing agency FCR Media. Most Belgian SMEs and self-employed people do not sell online and only three quarters of the SMEs have a website.
73% of smes and self-employed do not sell online
The corona crisis has finally won over Belgian consumers who were not yet convinced by e-commerce. Eight out of ten Belgians buy online and one third of Belgian consumers think that they will continue to shop online after the coronacrisis. This is evident from research by FCR Media, the largest Belgian digital marketing agency for SMEs and independents.
Despite these rather striking figures in consumer preferences, FCR Media notices from the data of goudengids.be that Belgian SMEs and independents have not flown into e-commerce with the same enthusiasm. Small businesses continue to focus mainly on offline sales. Only one in four companies offered the possibility to place orders or make reservations online, according to statbel figures.
"This is a missed opportunity for many companies," observes Maja Van der Borst, communications manager at FCR Media. "The consumer is clearly ready for online trade and will buy more and more easily online and will no longer go out the door for new products. The consumer is in the driver's seat. That is what the local trader has to respond to."
One in four belgian sme does not have a website
Belgian SMEs have a very limited online presence, the FCR Media survey has shown. One fourth of Belgian SMEs do not have a website. Most SMEs report being held back by three main points: they think their business is too small-scale to go online, they don't know how to start, and they find it complicated or too expensive.
However, it is often worth investing in online via a website and social media: 85% of consumers want an integrated experience online and in-store and the corona crisis has made consumers want an omni-channel experience, according to e-commerce specialists. Research shows that online shops that are on social media have on average a third more sales than shops that are not.
"E-commerce and online presence has multiplied the opportunities for SMEs and independents, but it has also increased consumer expectations," says Maja Van de Borst. "We therefore want to encourage SMEs to differentiate their business by offering a quick, easy way to sell online."
Travel sector most active online
FCR Media's research shows that there is also a big difference in online presence between different sectors. The travel sector, for instance, has the highest percentage of websites. Also the education sector, entertainment, shopping and food and beverages are doing well. In all these sectors more than one third of the companies have a website. The sectors that generally score the lowest are the culture and business sector.
The results of this study are based on figures that FCR Media has at its disposal via degoudengids.be. The sample consists of 1,597,010 Belgian companies with an active VAT number.