It may be tempting to think of Europe as a consumer monolith with similar consumer behavior across the continent, but that would be a mistake. Payment methods, purchase channels and ecommerce trends are highly country-dependent. European digital spending has been growing steadily and the number of Europeans using cashless payment could reach more than 700 million by 2023.

Recent shifts in payment preferences are from Europe’s growing embrace of ecommerce. European ecommerce has grown quickly by necessity and presently more than 7 out of 10 Europeans shop online.  This expansion shows no signs of slowing down, with year over year growth projected at 11% CAGR through 2025.

Mobile Payments are quickly gaining in popularity 

In nearly every ecommerce category, from fashion to groceries to beauty and health products, large portions of consumers shopped on mobile. Somewhere between 60% – 80% of respondents in each country surveyed reported making mobile purchases monthly or more frequently. 1 Our data shows nearly two-thirds (65%) of Europeans report purchasing clothes within the past three months. Almost half of Europeans purchased takeout from a restaurant, and over 70% of those did so via mobile device. Merchants need to enable mobile shopping and payment methods for this growing demand. Europeans rely on phones not only for payments and ecommerce but also for financial services and management of their finances. Financial app usage is high across Europe, with nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents reporting using a bank-provided app and half of the respondents using an ewallet app.

Top insights from research by country:


MobilePay is here to stay. 71% of Danes reported a recent online purchase with the Danish mobile payment application, and nearly 4 out of 10 (39%) of respondents said it was their most preferred payment method too. Mobile commerce is growing in popularity in Denmark with 68% of Danes reporting making mobile purchases on at least a monthly basis.


Nearly one-quarter of French respondents used wire transfers to pay for a recent online purchase. Credit cards (58%) dominate as the most preferred choice to pay for purchases in-store.


 Only 5% of Germans chose credit cards as their top online payment method. More than 8 in 10 Germans reported using PayPal for a recent purchase and over one-half (54%) consider it their first-choice payment method.


Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) of Icelanders used credit cards for a recent online purchase, and almost half (46%) consider it their first choice payment method. Over one-third of Icelanders have recently used a digital wallet for an online purchase, showing the payment method’s increasing popularity in Iceland


Most Italians use a debit card or cash for in-store purchases, while online they use and prefer PayPal. Nearly half of Italians (48%) reported buying beauty or health products online.

The Netherlands

Over 60% of respondents recently used iDEAL online, and 40% say it’s their first-choice payment method. BNPL is big in the Netherlands: 29% of Dutch respondents say they recently purchased with Klarna, and 25% reported buying with Afterpay for recent online purchases.


Over 81% of Spanish consumers purchased via mobile in the last month, making mobile-friendly commerce a must. Over two-thirds (67%) of Spaniards reported using PayPal for a recent online purchase.


Mobile payments for the win: When asked about payment methods they had used to shop online recently, over one-half reported using PayPal, and 40% reported using Swedish mobile payment Swish. 72% of Swedes recently bought food on mobile, while more than half purchased electronics and media via desktop.

The United Kingdom

Debit cards, not credit, rule the day in the UK: 75% of consumers recently used debit versus just 45% for credit cards. 29% of UK consumers used Apple Pay for a recent online purchase, the highest figure of all countries surveyed.

[Editor: very insightful country specific deep dives are to find in Rapyd Research Report – see Source]

Source: Rapyd Research