Electricals retailing in Europe provides detailed coverage of the retailing of electrical goods in the five major European economies – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

In addition in the Executive Summary we provide information, in so far as it is available, on other leading European economies. This pan-European data comes from three main sources.

  • Consumer spending data. This comes from the national statistics website or Eurostat (which sources data from the national sites) and is explained below. We have data for 25 countries.

  • Retail sales data: retail sales data availability is patchy. There are two main sectors covering electricals – “IT and telecoms specialist retailers” and “Household Goods electrical retailers”. The latter is included within the household goods sector and data is less widely available. We have data for 20 countries for IT and telecoms and for 14 for household appliances.

  • Data on the leading retailers, both specialist and non-specialist, though there is only one major pan-European non-specialist, Amazon.

Technical notes

Market sizes – consumer spending on electricals

Consumer spending data is published by national statistics offices and is brought together by Eurostat. The standard classification for spending categories is COICOP and the main categories covered in this report are:

5.3 – major household appliances (also known as White goods) and small household appliances (such as kettles, toasters and mixers)

8.2 – Telephone and fax equipment

9.1.1 – Audio visual equipment

9.1.2 - Photographic and optical equipment

9.1.3 – Information processing equipment

Note that we do not include 9.1.4, the remaining category within 9.1, which includes recording media – CDs, DVDs, games and computer software.

Market sizes - Retail data

Retail sales data is published by the national statistics offices and it varies in the amount of detail provided. The retail sales classification is the SIC classification. Where possible we use two categories:

47.4 – IT and telecoms retailers, but this would also include brown goods specialists

47.54 – household appliance retailers

Leading retailers

Data for the leading retailers is usually published by the retailers themselves, and in most countries companies are obliged to file their accounts.

The criterion for inclusion in this report is that the chain should look to consumers as if it is a multiple retailer – so it either is a multiple, such as Media Markt or Fnac, or it is a voluntary group where independent retailers agree to trade under a common fascia and accept certain central disciplines and in return can benefit from the aggregated buying power of the group. The largest voluntary groups are Expert and Euronics, though there are several others, some of which are members of a buying group, E Square.

We also include coverage of major non-specialists, retailers with a broad range who are also major players in electricals. Examples are John Lewis and Argos.

Online retailers also need to be included, though they are not classified as electrical retailers in the national statistics (they need to operate stores for that). But no analysis of electricals retailers can ignore AO.com or Conrad, or the largest of them all, Amazon.

Financial definitions

Financial definitions used are:

  • Sales: Turnover as reported by the company, excluding VAT

  • Operating profits: the return made on trading. This is the profit after depreciation, but before finance charges, tax, amortisation and any exceptional items, such as property profits or impairment charges

  • Pre-tax profits: Profit after all charges, including exceptional charges but before tax

  • Operating margin: operating profits as a percentage of sales

  • Pre-tax margin: pre-tax profits as a percentage of sales.


ACORN A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods
B2B Business-to-Business
C2C Consumer-to-Consumer (sales)
CAGR Compound Annual Growth Rate
COICOP Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose
CPI Consumer Prices Index
e Mintel Estimate
f Mintel Forecast
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In addition we frequently use terms to describe electrical goods

White goods Major household appliances, such as washing machines and cookers. Also includes microwaves, vacuum cleaners and small electrical appliances such as kettles and toasters
Brown goods Audio visual – TV, Hi Fi
Grey goods Computers and related equipment. Includes tablets and peripherals
Telecoms Primarily mobile phones as the fixed phone market is quite small

VAT rates

With turmoil of the global financial crisis and the Euro crisis now out of the way, there has been no change in VAT rates in the leading economies since 2013.

Figure 1: VAT rates, 2012-2016
01-Jan-12 01-Jan-13 01-Jan-14 01-Jan-15 01-Jan-16
% % % % %
Austria 20 20 20 20 20
Belgium 21 21 21 21 21
Czech Republic 20 21 21 21 21
Denmark 25 25 25 25 25
Finland 23 24 24 24 24
France 19.6 19.6 20 20 20
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