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Survey shows: web shops thrive in data economy

72% of shops use customer data for marketing

81% of shops do email marketing

92% of shops do advertising on internet media

1 on 2 shops generate more than 20% of sales through 3rd party advertising

77% of shops uses cookies

Top 3 uses of cookies: shopping basket, language setting, payment setting


A Europe wide survey among web shops has underlined the important use of customer data for web shops. The survey was carried out by EMOTA in the 3rd week of July and is based on close to 300 submissions around Europe. Its main findings:

The vast majority of webshops use consumers’ data, which is most usually collected thanks to cookies.

Data is not only used for marketing and sales, but extensively used for the functionality of the web site, like the shopping basket, fraud detection, language settings, search function, currency settings a.o.

81% of webshops do email marketing, which requires specified information about the consumers’ preferences through data collection.

The quasi-totality of webshops uses internet media for advertisement. The use of consumer’s data and cookies is crucial in Internet media marketing.

3d party advertisement is estimated to represent a significant portion of webshop sales.

"We have to embrace the data economy" comments Jörgen Bodmar, EMOTA Chairman « It offers web shop visitors a smooth and seamless experience, while allowing webshops to reach out to customers in a targeted way. It is a win-win for consumers and retailers.  In the current discussions in the European Union about data privacy, we should encourage regulators to develop a favourable environment for the use of data in our digital economy ».

Webshops are currently preparing to comply with the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), which will enter into force in Spring 2018.  In parallel, the EU has proposed a ePrivacy Regulation which, like the GDPR, will strongly restrict data collection and use.  This proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and Member States in the 2nd half of 2017. EMOTA will continue its advocate its positive message about the importance of a framework that encourages the use of data in the digital economy. 



Below are the results of a survey carried out in July 2017 among webshops in Europe on the relevance of customer data use.  Main findings:

72% of shops use personal data from customers, like gender, preferences, previous purchases, a.o. in order to market products. 

Sales are lost if a shop cannot use personal data of costumers and/or prospective costumers.

0-10%: 28.6%

10-20%: 25.6%

20-50%: 30.2%

more than 50%: 15.6%


81% of shops do email marketing, like sending product offers, information on sales.

76.5% of shops use cookies to collect personal data from webshop visitors

94% of shops do some sort of adverting.


The main channels of advertising are below.​

Internet media 92.3%

TV 12.9%

Radio 6.5%

Printed media 38.7%


3rd Party Advertising generates the following proportion of sales for webshops.

0-10%: 24.8%

0-20%: 24.3% 

20-50% 31.9% 

more than 50%: 19.0%


Cookies are used for the following purposes:

Language setting 54.0%

Payment settings 48.8%

Fraud detection 31.8%

Shopping baskets 72.0%

Delivery settings 43.1%

Product sorting in websites 28.9%

Product recommendations 31.3%

Abandoned shopping carts software 31.8%

Internal search engine 39.8%

Currency 28.9%

Payments according to country 24.1%

Address formats in checkout 32.7%

Pre-filled country of destination 23.2%

Predefined shipping rates 22.3%

Choice of shipping agents 16.1%


You can download here the release. 



Maurits Bruggink

EMOTA Secretary General; +32 471 06 47 86 



About EMOTAThe European Multi-Channel and Online Trade Association, EMOTA, is the voice of online and distance sellers in the EU. EMOTA represents online and distance sellers from around Europe, with member associations in 19 countries and both corporate and supplier members. EMOTA interacts with the European institutions to improve trading conditions and regulations.