Cards Dominate Half of Belgium Payments
Belgium had an estimated population of 11,589,623 as of the middle of 2020, according to UN data. Based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest UN data, Belgium had a population of 11,622,651 as of February 26, 2021, with 98.3% living in urban areas, mainly Brussels. The median age of the population is 41.9 years. Belgium had approximately 10.57 million active internet users as of January 2021, according to Data Reportal.
The relatively high levels of banking, internet, and smartphone penetration mean Belgium faces relatively fewer challenges to establish an e-commerce market. The average annual revenue per paying user in Belgium amounted to $1,829 in 2020, according to the PPRO Report. Most cross-border e-commerce purchases by Belgian shoppers are of products from China, Netherland, and the France.
In 2020, Most Belgians shoppers prefer to pay with cards, followed by cash, bank transfers, and other payment methods. For cashless payments, the three big players are Visa, American Express, and Mastercard.
According to IMF data, Belgium had a gross domestic product of $529.67 billion in 2019, which declined to $503.42 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic. As the economy continues to recover, Belgium's GDP is expected to expand to about $576.77 billion in 2021.
Internet & mobile phone trends
According to Statista, 98% of internet users in the country were aged 16-24 years old as of October 2018. According to Datareportal, there were 10.57 million internet users in January 2021, which had increased by about 158 thousand (+1.5%) from 2020, with an internet penetration rate of 91.0% in January 2021. Meanwhile, 77% of the population had smartphones in 2020.
According to the PPRO Report, a high of 84.39% of Belgians had bank accounts in 2020, with 77% of them being credit card holders.