EU Consumer Scoreboard Shows Untapped Ecommerce Potential
The 2015 edition of the European Commission’s Consumer Scoreboard shows that cross-border ecommerce is still an under-developed market in Europe.
According to the scorecard, 61 percent of consumers feel more confident buying online from their own country than from another EU country. The scoreboard found that the lack of trust, territorial restrictions, and price discrimination are still barriers to cross-border ecommerce.
The scoreboard is a regular report that tracks the integration of the EU internal retail market from the consumer perspective and monitors the quality of the national consumer environment.
The commission will put forward a proposal before the end of the year to make cross-border e-commerce easier. This will include EU-wide rules on contracts and consumer protection for online purchases.
“The 2015 Consumer Scoreboard confirms that consumers do not yet fully trust cross-border e-commerce,” said Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers, and Gender Equality. “One of the priorities is to complete the Digital Single Market and unleash its full potential. This is why we have to lift the remaining barriers to cross-border ecommerce. By the end of the year, the commission will propose new rules offering better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe. ”
Among the scoreboard’s findings, consumers buying across borders face many problems, especially regarding delivery and product conformity. Consumers also face restrictions and price discrimination due to their country of residence in cross-border transactions.
The awareness of the consumer rights guaranteed by EU legislation remains limited among consumers and retailers. Only nine percent of consumers were able to answer correctly when asked about their rights; young people scored lowest.
Twenty-five of all consumers encountering problems do not complain. The majority of consumers who did not take any action in case of a problem were discouraged by the perceived difficulties, such as low likelihood of success, lack of information, and the length of the procedure. Satisfaction with complaint handling was highest among consumers who complained to alternative dispute resolution bodies.