Really, who said Spain is an e-commerce weakling? Sure, there are a number of studies pointing the index finger at Spain and claiming sluggish spending growth, online payment insecurity, and companies’ general reluctantly to spend on pricey ecommerce solutions. And obviously Spain is not playing with the heavyweights. But as covered in a previous story, the situation might not be as dire as many like to paint it.
Consider the latest MasterCard study, “MasterInsights” whose findings take the black eye out of Spain’s online spending. Last year, Spaniards spent 41.5 million euros (52 million U.S. dollars) using their credit cards, which translates to an increase of 88% from the previous year. Better yet, the study found that the Spanish master cards online spending in 2004 took an 8.4% bite out of the 497 million (euros) charged with the popular credit card outside of Spain.
Not surprisingly, a good chunk of this spending went to the tourism industry; travel agencies and popular online reservation portals picked up 9.6 million, car rental companies enjoyed 6.9 million euros of Spanish spending, and online hotel reservations 3.9 million. Much like everywhere else in the world, the tourism industry in Spain is in the spotlight when it comes to online progress.
Evidently these findings mean a number of things. The study positions Spain in 10th place out of the 24 profiled countries, with Germany leading the pack with 250 millions followed by the Netherlands at 193 millions and the UK with 174 million. More importantly however, looking back to a previous MSE blog entry, “Spanish E-commerce: Grim or exciting? Which will it be?”
MSE mentioned that contrary to what many may think, Spanish e-commerce is actually evolving much faster than in other European countries. “MasterInsights” found a similar trend that not only contradicts the critics, but sheds a much more positive light on the Spanish market:
Spanish e-commerce spending is growing at a much steeper rate than the European average (67% growth), as surpassing as well highly advanced countries such as Germany (70% growth), France (20% growth) and the Netherlands (46% growth).
For Spain, this indeed is some very exciting news, growing online payments with MasterCards means Spaniards are shedding the fear and slowly but surely giving into online secure shopping. Trust will feed trust. So keep your credit cards on hand, your fingers on the keyboard, but most importantly, keep your eye on Spain.
Note: For more information on other countries, visit the MasterInsight report (pdf), where you can study European MasterCard spending as a whole or zoom in on a European country of your choice. There is plenty of information that is bound to surprise you.
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