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Drivers and impediments for cross-border e-commerce in the EU



There are no official statistics on international online trade in goods so far. This paper uses a consumer survey to construct a unique matrix of online B2C domestic and cross-border trade in goods between the 27 EU Member States. We compare online and offline trade patterns for similar goods. We find that the standard gravity model performs well in explaining online cross-border trade flows. The model confirms the strong reduction in geographical distance-related trade costs, compared to offline trade. However, the trade costs associated with crossing language barriers increase when moving from offline to online trade. Institutional variables such as online payments facilities and cost-efficiency of parcel delivery systems might play a significant role in cross-border trade and our analysis confirms this. In a linguistically segmented market like the EU, online home market bias remains high compared to bias in offline cross-border trade. We conclude that it is hard to predict at this stage whether regulators could boost online cross-border trade through improvements in legal and financial systems, and parcel delivery infrastructure.

Suggested Citation

  • Estrella Gomez & Bertin Martens & Geomina Turlea, 2013. "Drivers and impediments for cross-border e-commerce in the EU," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2013-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
  • Handle: RePEc:ipt:decwpa:2013-02

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    Cited by:

    1. Nestor Duch-Brown & Bertin Martens, 2014. "Consumer benefits from the EU Digital Single Market: evidence from household appliances markets," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2014-03, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    2. Melisande Cardona & Nestor Duch-Brown, 2016. "Delivery Costs and Cross-border e-Commerce in the EU Digital Single Market," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2016-03, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Wilson, Chris M., 2016. "Information Matters: A Theoretical Comparison of Some Cross-Border Trade Barriers," EconStor Preprints 130180, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    4. Nestor Duch-Brown & Bertin Martens, 2015. "Barriers to Cross-border eCommerce in the EU Digital Single Market," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2015-07, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    5. Melisande Cardona & Nestor Duch-Brown & Joseph Francois & Bertin Martens & Fan Yang, 2015. "The macro-economic impact of e-commerce in the EU Digital Single Market," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2015-09, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    6. Kim, T.Y. & Dekker, R. & Heij, C., 2016. "The value of express delivery services for cross-border e-commerce in European Union markets," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI2016-12, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    7. Jean Paul Simon, 2016. "How to Catch a Unicorn: An exploration of the universe of tech companies with high market capitalisation," JRC Working Papers JRC100719, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. Chris M Wilson, 2015. "Information Matters: Comparing Some Theoretical Determinants of Border Effects in Trade," Discussion Paper Series 2015_02, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Feb 2015.
    9. Meng Wang & Yaoqiu Kuang & Ningsheng Huang, 2015. "Sustainable Urban External Service Function Development for Building the International Megalopolis in the Pearl River Delta, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(10), pages 1-26, September.

    More about this item


    online trade; e-commerce; gravity; barriers to trade; home bias;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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