Both European governments and the European Commission have admitted that e-commerce can improve citizens’ quality of life, support consumers and create new jobs.
In 2017, Romania, Ukraine, Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria have shown the highest e-commerce growth rates in Europe, above 20%.
Europe has good conditions for the development of e-commerce, including the euro, which allows price transparency between countries, the single market, the increase in the number of Internet users and digital platforms, mobile communications, the drop in telecommunications prices, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which guarantees greater security, privacy and intellectual property.
On the other hand, the penetration rate through smartphones, the new generations of mobile networks, and the new services and content, specially developed for these mobile devices and access configurations, transform the paradigm of use that is made today of the Internet, very different from the one that was made a decade ago.
IDC and ACEPI (2018) calculate that by 2025 e-commerce B2B and B2C will have a strong growth and represent a major weight in the GDP, in Portugal, in Europe, and in the world.
The challenge now arises for the use and the creation of content, which is still not very explored and can open up new horizons for companies.
It’s at this juncture that e-commerce plays a key role, and the rate of Internet penetration in Portugal is satisfactorily considerable. In July 2018, PSE, a specialist in Data Science, showed the results of a research “Digital Portrait of Portuguese Smes”, which shows that 68% consider its important to have a digital and social marketing strategy, 26% of Smes do not have a digital strategy, that is, it does not employ any social and digital technology and does not understand the importance that digital channels have for brands, and 37% produces some communication but in a disorganized way.
Another study developed by ACEPI (2018), with the support of Norte 2020, states that only 39% of Portuguese companies have an online presence.
This juncture allows a greater implementation and maintenance of e-commerce projects, but certainly that the reduced digital knowledge can be a factor of impediment.
Other aspects to be redrafted in order to enable faster e-commerce growth relates to the need for a more competitive offer, better levels of service, varying payment methods, adjusting transport and logistics policies, issues related to online business transactions, and an integrated online and offline marketing communication strategy, where content marketing and online advertising occupy prominent places.