Amazon Europe’s Promising Countries: Stiff Competition from Local Players

Sep 22, 2023



When you’re thinking of Amazon Europe, promising markets (Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands) don’t always come to mind – many sellers stick to the bigger players like Germany, the UK, France, and Spain – and perhaps for good reason. One of the crucial decisions you will need to make is whether to sell your products on Amazon’s promising markets or stick to local platforms, which give Amazon a run for its money.

The presence of Amazon in Europe varies across countries, with dominance in the UK, Germany, and Italy, while struggling in markets like the Netherlands and Sweden. Domestic retailers and specialized online retailers currently dominate the European e-commerce market, but Amazon’s expansion poses a threat to these players. Niche players fear competition due to Amazon’s influence on small and big retailers and its controversial treatment of workers.

Despite this, Amazon’s extensive services, such as Amazon Prime and Amazon Web Services, make it an attractive option for sellers. On the other hand, local platforms may offer better services and have already prepared for Amazon’s arrival.

So, what to do? Should you add the promising markets to your list of countries to expand to on Amazon Europe? Or should you expand to bol.com, allegro.pl, or zalando.com instead?

Let’s take a look.

How is Amazon in Europe? A Peek at the Retail Giant’s Performance

Let’s take a brief look at Amazon’s presence in Europe, with a particular focus on three promising marketplaces: the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland.

While Amazon has made strides in expanding across Europe, it faces challenges from local e-commerce players who dominate their respective markets.

Brief overview of Amazon’s presence in Europe

All across Europe, Amazon stands as a pivotal ecommerce entity, closely monitored by retailers large and small. The moment the company rolls out a new service or shifts its focus towards a specific product category, the entire online retail sector swiftly becomes aware. The majority of Amazon’s moves significantly impact the market, competition, and consumer behavior. Niche competitors often express their anxiety that Amazon will enter their domain, potentially overshadowing them through competitive pricing, superior service, and expedited delivery.

Nevertheless, this considerable influence underscores Amazon’s position as a true market leader. The initiation of any new service, such as enhanced delivery options, prompts a ripple effect amongst other online retailers, as they are keen to retain their market share against the corporation. In other words, even if the other marketplaces excel much more than, say, a local marketplace in a bigger Amazon Europe country like the UK or Germany, these other players are still paying close attention to what Amazon does.

Highlight of the three promising Amazon marketplaces: NL, SWE, Poland

Take a look at Amazon in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland; performance is rising exponentially, meaning pretty soon, they might catch up to the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy as viable markets in Amazon Europe.

Amazon in the Netherlands

  • Entry Year: 2014
  • Fulfillment Centers: None in the Netherlands; products are shipped from neighboring countries such as Germany and France.
  • Objective: Strives to offer a wide range of products and convenient shopping experiences to Dutch customers.
  • Hard Facts about Amazon Netherlands
    • Visitors (April 2023): 21.5 million on amazon.nl
    • Revenue (2022): $809 million
  • Top 3 Amazon Competitors in the Netherlands (By Monthly Visitors)
    1. Bol.com
    2. Marktplaats.nl
    3. Zalando

Amazon in Sweden

  • Entry Year: 2020
  • Categories of Goods: 30
  • Warehouse: None currently, but one is planned in Eskilstuna, near Stockholm, to improve operations and better serve customers across Sweden.
  • Hard Facts about Amazon Sweden
    • Visitors (April 2023): 13.9 million on amazon.se
    • Revenue (2022): $117 million
  • Top 3 Amazon Competitors in Sweden (By Monthly Visitors)
    1. Clas Ohlson
    2. Aliexpress
    3. eBay

Amazon in Poland

  • Debut Year: 2021
  • Product Categories: 30 diverse categories
  • Fulfillment Center: Operating since 2014 in Sady near Poznan, contributing to a wide range of options and convenient services for customers.
  • Fun Fact
    • Warsaw’s Contribution: Played a crucial role globally in introducing Alexa’s voice capabilities.
  • Hard Facts about Amazon Poland
    • Visitors (April 2023): 13.7 million on amazon.pl
    • Revenue (2022): $225.6 million
  • Top 3 Amazon Competitors in Poland (By Monthly Visitors)
    1. Allegro.pl
    2. Olx.pl
    3. Aliexpress

Introduction to the challenge posed by local e-commerce players

Just because you sell on Amazon, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success. You’ll have to be ready to face the challenge of competing with local e-commerce players in these exciting European markets.

While Amazon has made its mark in the European e-commerce industry, local platforms still dominate in certain countries.

These players have established a strong presence, offering specialized services and catering to the unique needs of the local market.

To succeed in these markets, you’ll need to understand and adapt to the preferences and expectations of local consumers, as well as stay ahead of the technological advancements that these local players are implementing.

Amazon’s European Adventure

If you’re considering selling on Amazon’s European markets, it’s important to understand the company’s market share in Europe compared to North America.

While Amazon holds a 9.8% market share of European e-commerce, it dominates with over a third of the market in North America.

This highlights the diversity and fragmentation of the European e-commerce landscape, where domestic retailers and direct-to-consumer brands play a significant role.

Statistics on Amazon’s European market share

Consider selling on Amazon’s European marketplaces, as it holds a 9.8% market share of European e-commerce and has a significant presence in countries like the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland.

In the UK, Amazon dominates with $30.074 billion in revenue in 2022.

Germany is also a major market with $33.6 billion in revenue.

France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland also offer significant opportunities for sellers on Amazon’s platform.

Contrast with Amazon’s dominance in North America

The Amazon marketplace presents different challenges and opportunities in the EU and the US. The US has a significantly higher number of active sellers, resulting in intense competition, but a unique selling point could be highly rewarding in the EU market. Despite the potential, sellers must navigate the cultural differences, ensuring products align with local preferences and lifestyles. Fulfillment options vary as well, with the EU offering three distinct Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) options, each with its pros and cons. The impact of Brexit has also led to alterations in fulfillment protocols between the UK and EU, requiring strategic inventory placement and awareness of customs declarations. As of March 2022, fulfillment between the UK and the EU has been reinstated via the European Fulfillment Network.

Navigating the language barrier is another significant consideration, especially in diverse European markets like Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. While Amazon offers automatic translations for listings under Pan-European FBA, it is advisable to invest in professional translation services to optimize listings, albeit at a potential cost depending on the number of SKUs. Balancing these factors is essential for successfully breaking into and thriving in these distinct marketplaces.

Check out why YLT’s translators got you covered in optimizing your listings for Amazon Europe’s marketplaces – both the established ones, and the promising and up-and-coming ones – in this blog.

Spotlight on Promising Markets

If you’re considering expanding your business to Europe, it’s worth taking a closer look at the promising markets of Amazon Sweden, Netherlands, and Poland.

Amazon Sweden (SWE) launched in 2020, allowing Swedish businesses to sell on the platform, while Amazon Netherlands (NL) also entered the market in the same year.

In 2021, Amazon expanded further with the launch of Amazon Poland, providing opportunities for businesses to tap into the Polish market.

Amazon Sweden (SWE)

If you’re considering selling on Amazon’s Swedish marketplace, it’s important to understand the country’s e-commerce culture. Sweden has a strong tradition of supporting local brands like IKEA and H&M, which could pose a challenge for Amazon in gaining market share.

However, there are also opportunities for Amazon to tap into the growing e-commerce market in Sweden, especially with the popularity of online shopping and the increasing demand for convenience.

Just remember that the Swedes are spoiled for choice with players who’ve mastered product selection, consumer experience, offline retail, and logistics, so entering this market means you’ll have to up the ante.

Overview of the Swedish e-commerce culture

The Swedish e-commerce culture is characterized by the extensive use of enabling services like Klarna, Budbee, and Airmee. This presents a unique opportunity for sellers considering expanding into Amazon’s promising markets. These services have gained widespread popularity in Sweden and are extensively used for seamless and efficient online shopping experiences. By tapping into this culture, sellers can leverage the existing infrastructure and consumer preferences to establish a strong presence in the Swedish market.

Opportunities and challenges for Amazon

Despite the challenges posed by well-established local giants like IKEA and H&M, Amazon can seize opportunities in the Swedish e-commerce market. It can do this by offering unique products and services that engage customers and carve out its own niche. By leveraging its global resources and technology, Amazon can provide a seamless shopping experience, fast and reliable delivery, and a wide selection of products. With strategic partnerships and tailored marketing strategies, Amazon can establish itself as a formidable player in the Swedish market.

Amazon Netherlands (NL)

If you’re considering selling on Amazon in the Netherlands, it’s important to understand the evolution of Amazon in the Dutch market.

Amazon entered the Netherlands in 2014 and has steadily grown its presence since then, although it still faces stiff competition from local giant bol.com.

However, Amazon’s aggressive expansion and innovative services have the potential to eventually surpass bol.com and establish itself as a dominant player in the Dutch e-commerce market – especially now that Amazon finally has platform-specific PPC, which is something they unfortunately neglected in the first few months post-launch.

Evolution of Amazon in the Dutch market

Furthermore, Amazon’s entrance into the Dutch market in 2020 has positioned it as a significant player. However, it faces competition from local platforms such as Bol.com and Marktplaats.nl. Despite this competition, Amazon has made strides in establishing its presence in the Netherlands. It attracted 21.5 million visitors in April 2023 and generated $809 million in revenue in 2022. With its expanding customer base, Amazon NL offers a promising opportunity for sellers looking to tap into the Dutch market.

Key considerations for sellers in the Netherlands

Situated in north-western Europe, the Netherlands may be small in size but it boasts a large consumer market that has undergone considerable change in recent decades. Shifts in consumerism have been influenced by a range of factors including ethical shopping considerations and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on shopping habits. The e-commerce market in the Netherlands is notably advanced, both in a European and global context, with over a third of Dutch consumers shopping online weekly in 2021. Online shopping permeates all age groups, with Dutch people aged 25 to 54 being the leading online buyers. Attributes such as fast and reliable delivery, a good returns policy, and easy website navigation are especially important to Dutch online shoppers.

Another notable shift in Dutch consumerism is the growing emphasis on sustainability, with the last decade witnessing a 20 percent increase in customers valuing sustainable products, reaching approximately 56 percent in 2021. This focus on eco-friendliness is particularly evident in specific product categories, with around 70 percent of shoppers considering sustainability while purchasing items at supermarkets. Consequently, sustainable food products like eggs and fish represent a significant market share. Furthermore, the commitment to sustainability is reflected in the transportation sector, where around 25 percent of newly registered passenger vehicles in 2020 were electric, predominantly battery-powered, highlighting the Netherlands’ progress in accommodating a green shift in consumer preferences and practices.

Amazon Poland

If you’re considering expanding your business into Poland, it’s important to understand the e-commerce landscape in the country.

Allegro.pl is the dominant player in the Polish market, with a significant lead over Amazon. However, there are still opportunities for Amazon to grow in Poland, and the company has been actively pursuing strategies to gain traction in the market.

The e-commerce landscape in Poland

The e-commerce landscape in Poland offers significant opportunities for sellers. Allegro dominates the market as the largest platform in the country. It is 10 times bigger than Amazon in Poland. Selling on Allegro can provide sellers with access to a large customer base and potential for growth in the Polish market.

In this unique market, it would make sense to leverage on the best practices you use on Amazon, then employ that to your success on Allegro.pl, which holds a 10x larger market share than Amazon in Poland.

By utilizing both platforms, you can effectively reach a wider audience and increase your sales in this promising market.

Consumer Preferences and Behavior

When considering consumer preferences and behavior in the European market, it’s essential to understand the importance of pricing and shipping. Europeans are known to be price-sensitive, so offering competitive prices and affordable shipping options can be a key factor in attracting customers.

Additionally, it’s crucial to recognize that online shopping behavior varies across European countries, with some consumers preferring local platforms over international ones. To attract consumers to local Amazon sites, it’s necessary to adapt to their preferences and offer localized content, customer service, and targeted marketing strategies.

For more information on the German consumer, click here; for the Spanish consumer, check out this blog; to understand the French, head over here; and the Italian market tell-all is found right here.

The importance of pricing and shipping

Consider the importance of pricing and shipping when deciding whether to sell on Amazon’s promising markets or stick to local platforms. Pricing plays a crucial role in attracting customers, so make sure to research the market and set competitive prices. Shipping is another key factor, as customers expect fast and reliable delivery. Evaluate Amazon’s shipping capabilities and compare them to local platforms to determine which option will best meet your customers’ expectations.

Strategies to attract consumers to local Amazon sites

Jana notes that content optimization on local marketplaces isn’t as stringent as on Amazon, so you’d get away with taking the optimized title and a few bullet points, and using them on local marketplaces.

Furthermore, in Sweden and the Netherlands especially, consider putting high search volume keywords in English in the backend. Although the cultures both speak excellent English, listings are often in Dutch or Swedish as the case may be — but English keywords are still used in search.

As for attracting customers to your Amazon site, the same holds true in any culture you may localize to – localize your content off-Amazon, and provide above-par customer service.

The Future of E-commerce in Europe

When considering the future of e-commerce in Europe, there are several key points to consider.

Firstly, the growth prospects and market penetration in various European countries present significant opportunities for both Amazon and local players.

As Amazon continues to expand its presence in Europe, it will inevitably impact the competitive landscape and force local players to adapt and innovate.

Ultimately, the evolving e-commerce landscape in Europe is a non-zero-sum game, with both Amazon and local players having the potential to thrive and succeed in this dynamic market.

Growth prospects and market penetration

Despite Amazon’s significant presence in the European e-commerce market, local platforms in certain countries continue to offer growth prospects and strong market penetration. These platforms, such as Allegro in Poland and eMAG in Romania, have already established themselves as dominant players in their respective markets.

They have a deep understanding of the local consumer preferences and offer tailored services that resonate with the local population. As a result, sellers should consider leveraging these platforms to tap into the existing customer base and capitalize on the growth potential.

The non-zero-sum game between Amazon and local players

The fierce competition between Amazon and local players in Europe ignites a battle for dominance, fueling innovation and driving better services for consumers.

Local platforms have been forced to up their game in order to compete with Amazon, resulting in improved offerings and customer experiences.

This non-zero-sum game benefits both parties as they strive to capture market share and meet the demands of European shoppers.

Back to our earlier point about selling on both marketplaces and using Amazon best practices to boost conversion and engagement on local marketplaces – it’s a clear case of one hand feeding the other.

Final thoughts on the evolving e-commerce landscape in Europe

Embrace the ever-changing e-commerce landscape in Europe and seize the opportunity to thrive in a dynamic market that rewards innovation and adaptability.

As Amazon expands its presence in promising markets like the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland, it’s crucial to carefully consider whether to sell on their platforms or stick to local options.

While Amazon offers a wide reach and convenience, local platforms often have a stronger foothold and cater to specific market needs.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your business strategy and target audience.


Amazon has made considerable progress in establishing its presence across various European countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, and Belgium, despite facing challenges. The company’s expansion illustrates its significant influence in shaping the future of e-commerce in the region. Amazon’s journey in Europe began with its expansion to the UK and Germany, followed by establishing dedicated websites in several other countries, and more recently entering emerging markets like the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland, even inaugurating its first logistics center in Belgium.

While exploring opportunities in these markets, it’s crucial for businesses to consider the challenges presented by competition from local platforms and cultural differences. The European online retail market continues to evolve, with local platforms remaining strong competitors to Amazon, but the latter’s expanding presence and vast customer base offer substantial growth potential for businesses willing to navigate the complexities of cross-border selling. When deciding whether to engage with Amazon or local platforms, businesses need to assess their ability to scale, navigate regulations, and gauge potential gains, ensuring that their choices align with their goals and resources.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you choose to go for Amazon or local marketplaces in these promising countries – but in Jana’s esteem, why not try both? At least you’ll cover more ground that way.

Interested if Amazon Netherlands, Sweden, or Poland are for you? Check out the YLT Translations AMOR report and remove the guesswork from your expansion efforts!