Many of Europe’s retailers plan to expand in 2021

Rather than contract in the wake of Covid-19, European retailers plan to expand their businesses, research from Stripe reveals.

According to new research published by payments and treasury platform Stripe and conducted by Forrester, the majority of businesses (57pc) consider expanding to new geographical markets over the next 12 months a high or critical priority.

Improving customer experience is also viewed as a high or critical priority by 56pc of European businesses. 

“European retailers have shown impressive resilience and are forward-looking despite significant hurdles and challenges”

The research – which surveyed 495 respondents worldwide, including 221 in Europe – the majority (51pc) of retailers plan to adopt new business models, such as a subscription service, over the next 12 months.

Customer experience at centre of change

As retailers move into new global markets, they face a new set of challenges related to payment methods, localisation, and regulation for which they lack internal expertise. As a result, 52pc of European merchants find it challenging to expand into new markets.

The lack of internal expertise in payments is a major hurdle for companies. 44pc of respondents say their firm lacks the local expertise to understand country-specific policies and regulations around payments, and the lack of payment expertise is the number one payment-related challenge (22pc).

Businesses are expecting payments to provide them with a competitive advantage to acquire more customers and improve their strategy in response to Covid-19.

Retailers in Europe plan to make implementing new payment methods (36pc) and gathering more customer data and insights from payments (27pc) their top priorities over the next 18 months.

“As the economic effects of the pandemic are being felt across Europe, European retailers have shown impressive resilience and are forward-looking despite significant hurdles and challenges,” said Eileen O’Mara, Revenue and Growth lead for EMEA and APAC at Stripe.

“Stripe has a strong track record of helping online businesses find their way through regulation, and we will continue to support these businesses’ efforts to scale internationally from day one,” she added.

By John Kennedy (

Published: 26 November, 2020