Geoblocking Prevalent For EU's Online Shoppers

Tyler Durden's picture

This week, the European Union agreed to end unjustified geoblocking after a late-night session.

This relates to geoblocking the online trading of goods and services. As Statista's Niall McCarthy explains, the agreement means companies will not be able to prevent customers from visiting and doing business on their website due to being resident in another EU member state. The European Commission says the new rules will boost e-commerce for the benefit of consumers and businesses who take advantage of the growing European online market.

As of last year, 63 percent of websites in the EU do not let shoppers buy from another EU country.

Infographic: Geoblocking Prevalent For EU's Online Shoppers   | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

Broken down by sector, 86 percent of electrical household appliance retailers will not sell to a shopper buying in a different member state.

Among electronics and computer hardware retailers, the rate is 79 percent while in the computer game and software sector, it is 73 percent.

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hooligan2009's picture

OMG - does this mean the EU had non-tariff trade barriers WITHIN THE EU all this time?

the EU claimed to be a free trade area with no barriers at all !!!!

how much else don't we know - like prices for phone calls, cable tv, cars etc etc????

86 percent of electrical household appliance retailers will not sell to a shopper buying in a different member state.

Among electronics and computer hardware retailers, the rate is 79 percent while in the computer game and software sector, it is 73 percent.

Tallest Skil's picture


It’s called national sovereignty, Europe. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Oh, right, 72 years ago someone tried to keep his country sovereign and your masters didn’t like that. Never mind, you fucking cuckolds. Carry on.

philipat's picture

It's not a question of sovereignty but of hypocrisy. I fully support Brexit based on the full restoration of sovereignty. But the remaining EU members can't have it both ways. Is it a single markets and customs union or is it not? If it is, then Geoblocking is entirely inconsistent.

Skateboarder's picture

International is usually okay, but whatever anti-geoblocking is implemented, I hope that percolates over to international e-commerce as well, because Europe has a lot of metal shirts and records and stuff that's hard to get here. Some of it is only available to ship within certain European countries cuz it's from small businesses that have stock of old bands' shirts and stuff, and they are bound to whatever laws that won't let them ship to certain places.

JimmyJones's picture

Don't worry the EU Army that France and Germany are spearheading and the Eastern member states are resisting will take care of this. 

rpc's picture

You cannot compare EU to USA: no common language (e.g. manuals, invoices, ...), different rules, different VAT's (= sales tax, the seller has to register in the destination country and transfer the VAT to, very burocratic and expensive process), different legal warrany rules (in Germany 2 years, Finland 5 years ...) If you buy a device in Germany, pay the 2 yr warranty but the seller has to give you 5yrs because you are from Finland? Is it fair to sellers and the buyers in Germoney (just as example here) that will have higher prices to pay ... And next, these EU-bureaucrats will want same shipping costs everywhere in EU, guess who will pay more in the end!

European socialism: OPM

jeff montanye's picture

it is sad the south of europe, particularly greece, has been led to ruin trying to implement a common currency when, at even this long last, the eu isn't even a proper common market.  differences in warranties, etc. should long ago have been regularized among countries.

philipat's picture

Fear not, it is coming. They are also trying to standardise the rates of Corporate tax in all countries because "core" Europe cannot compete with countries such as Ireland with much lower rates. So the Brussels answer is to standardise at the HIGHER rates so that consumers everywhere lose. If they do that, however, the  UK after Brexit would be very well positioned to establish itself as free and low tax market for business investment, the savings from which would far exceed any WTO tariffs to ship into the EU. Go for it Brussels.....

rpc's picture

The tax solution would be simple: tax where the profit is made, no exception!

philipat's picture

So how do you force The Cayman Islands, BVI, Bermuda etc (Mostly British jurisdictions incidentally) to enforce your plan? And how do you force the "IP" industries (Mostly Tech and Big Pharma) from using Transfer Pricing via Royalties, Licensing Fees, Trademark Agreements etc from accruing all these fees in a tax haven country?

WallHoo's picture

"So how do you force..."


1.Economic embargo.


2.Cut diplomatic relations.


3.Millitary anhilation.




I m sure that the EU is stronger than the cayman islands or bermuda.

God Emperor's picture

It worked very well until th communists change the rules.

Browsing an item on and then just change ONLY the extension (leaving everything after it) to .es / .de / .fr /.it to get the best price.

Now there's a red message that says they won't deliver outside that specific country if you have your own country's Amazon.


BarkingCat's picture

Use the sales tax.

Of course they already do that with the VAT.

Their problem is that the layers of government are so thick that it makes simple issues complex and expensive.

rpc's picture

"... from using Transfer Pricing via Royalties, Licensing Fees, Trademark Agreements ..."


simple: the recepient of the licensing fees has to open a subsidiary in the same country and pay the taxes there, no transfer abroad possible without having paid full taxes. It is simple, you just have to do it.

land_of_the_few's picture

The geo-blocking is done by the companies themselves, not the EU states. A bit like cellphone roaming charges.

Sudden Debt's picture









And then there's the cellphone market... roaming has been cancelled, that means you can call anybody in Europe at a local tarif...




Europe is so fucked up in regulations and regulations to counter other regulations that where fucked up at the start that Europe is now destroying European trade for the sake of Chinese trade and lobbyists protecting and controlling the market....




BarkingCat's picture

There is a downside to buying the more expensive stuff directly from China - warranty service.

I bought a phone from Tinydeal and after a few months of almost no use (I hate the user interface so I kept using my old LG) the screen started to bleed colors. 

Their warranty states that I have to pay shipping to China and back. So I wrote to them to just have the screen to me. Response was that the phone was out of stock but I could buy my own screen on AliExpress. So much for their shitty 6 month warranty.

I will not buy another item from that particular company. I will never buy anything but cheap accessories direct from China.

hannah's picture

true the biggest impediment to china being a global power is quality control. the usa gave the machines and tech to china over the last 50 years but we cant export quality control. they dont understand the concept...just volume.

philipat's picture

Actually many products for sale in the EU come with instructions written in 10-15 different languages already, so that isn't really an issue. Regarding warranties, I don't see that as a problem either because it could be made part of the sale contract that the terms and conditions applicable in the country of the seller be applicable to "Cross-border" sales (But again, isn't it supposed to be a single market - even Goerge Soros would be ashamed!) and have the buyer waive all other rights. If you don't like it buy it at home and pay more, assuming that the only reason anyone would do this is because the price is lower elsewhere?

But if you want lwoer prices, buy from Amazon US where prices are MUCH lower, even though Europe has now started charging Duty on US Amazon shipments. In fact, as the EU is a larger market than the US, European consumers should start asking the question why is it that goods in the US are so much cheaper than in the EU, often as much as 50% less?

That said, Brussels has regulated every fucking thing so it's difficult to see how this was overlooked? It must have been because large German and/or French Corporate suppliers would have suffered. In true Brussels fashion, however, I would expect a lot of new regulations to accompany the de-regulation of Geoblocking to reduce or eliminate competition by SME's in a similar manner to the Olive Oil fiasco?

rpc's picture

Warranty: if it is the law - and it is (at least in Germoney) - you can write in the contract whatever you want, it won't be valid. Competition between law systems is a good think, limitless "harmonization" of rules and taxes is bad, it's just socialism without any way of chosing (fleeing from bad rules and taxes) for the citizens. Who decides? A non elected comitee of bureaucrats called the European Commission!

Take phones: different plugs in each EU country, so the seller will be responsible to deliver the right one? Who bears the cost of that?

There are other solution, such as using local buying agents, to be paid by the foreign buyer, not by the seller (= effectively the local buyers)!

If you want to buy a good priced fridge, take a trailer, drive there by yourself and buy at the local rules.

Mimir's picture

Get informed. It is only in the tabloid press Brits are kept in ignorance of what the Internal Marked is and how it functions.

The Internal Marked is a continuous work to maintain and  develop.  The European Commission and its numerous committees are there for that. Internet commerce is maybe the most difficult area to regulate. Roaming charges was one of the main battles which now have been solved.

You actually know enough so why ask ? Nurturing the conspiracy beast ?

After Brexit, Brits can rebuild their barriers at ease, unless a trade agreement is made that can prevent them. 

Singelguy's picture

If there is no trade agreement, the UK and the EU automatically revert to WTO rules, so no barriers outside WTO rules can be implemented.

holdbuysell's picture

If you like your economic union, you can keep you economic union.


Mimir's picture

I don't actually think anyone would ask your opinion.

coast1's picture

amazon and google...its no different in the U.S.  They will never a spiritual person, this wont stop until armageddon and etc

Sandmann's picture

Electricals are far more expensive in Southern Europe. Amazon has a blocking mechanism on electricals and certain other items. It has taken the EU a very long time to get around to this discrimination.

There are lots of Non-Tariff Barriers inside EU

rpc's picture

Why not elect politicans that reduce local taxes, local trade restrictions/rules and local employment laws in order to increase local competition? That would be the right way. Citizens just have to do the right choice, and not call for the European "big brother".

Or maybe also the Euro is supervalued in the south, and underrated in the core countries? Abolish the Euro, and the problem will dissipate.

BarkingCat's picture

My GOD...Stop with using logic.

There are bureaucrat jobs on the line!!

Caveman93's picture

Well, aren't we boarder sensitive eh?

So It Goes's picture

Will I be able to buy French Eau de Vie from England?  So far there is only a limited choice - OK it is esoteric but it is a hobby.

SilvaDolla's picture

Geoblocking there, geoblocking here, geoblocking everywhere.

GreatUncle's picture

This would be to open up Amazon trading across all EU states right?

And with it unceritified server blocking and spying too.

Archduke's picture

This hackjob is comical, even by ZH agitprop standards
The EU session is exactly about removing this price fixing.

All the ignorant oi-poloi championning the anti-EU socialist dystopia meme on ZH have never set foot on the continent and don’t really have an an appreciation of liberal markets. They’re just trolls mouthing off alt-right rubbish blindly in the darkness. I have been living in the EU for the last 15 years. No other place, to living memory, has done more to open markets, reduce protectionism, and give consumers a fair deal.

Bollockinell's picture

" I have been living in the EU for the last 15 years. No other place, to living memory, has done more to open markets, reduce protectionism, and give consumers a fair deal."

Well I have lived in Europe my whole life and I have yet to experience this 'fair deal' you speak of. Perhaps we could start with the banks and then move on to the repression of motorists...

buzzsaw99's picture

let's just say it, europe is one giant clusterfuck.

Bollockinell's picture

I hope they stop geoblocking on television channels. And what about YouTube?

quasi_verbatim's picture

Can we geoblock 'Murica?

taipalag's picture

It's because of all the administrative burden you have to deal with as soon as you sell in another country, especially VAT. Those geniuses at the EU changed the VAT law a few years ago so that as an online seller, when you sell to a customer of another EU country, you must now apply the tax rate of the customer's country, not of the country of the seller.

In other words, as a seller, you are expected to know the VAT law of all 27 EU countries. That's retarded. So it makes much more sense to simply block customers of another EU country.

BTW, they changed that law because previously, big companies (Amazon) were located in tax havens (Lux, Ireland) so customers only paid low VAT and so it was deemed that big companies were unfairly advantaged compared to smaller online sellers.

But with the new law, only bigger companies can afford accountants etc to deal with the different national regulations. So this stupid move, instead of making things better for small online stores, effectively favors big online sellers by pushing out smaller online sellers because of the administrative overhead.

EU nonsense in all its glory.

Juliette's picture

Why is there not a single unified VAT rate all across the EU? Why does every EU country have different rules regarding electrical appliances and medicines or supplements? In Germany e.g. you can buy vitamins in any supermarket, but in Cyprus only in a pharmacy. And there are different electrical sockets and plugs in different EU countries ... Just two examples.

taipalag's picture

And your point is? (It's not clear from your comment)

iadr's picture

Umm because they are sovereign nations?


Your "convenience" doesn't trump laws, lady. Sheesh, you asked a dumb question.

UndertheDRADIS's picture

Sales tax rates are different in all of the US, but we somehow manage to do so. Now, if there is no nexus, (seller's employees, vehicles, or facilities) in the receiving state, there is no registration required. This is why you will see online sellers with "Buyers in XX, will have to pay X% sales tax;" usually this is the state where the seller is domiciled.

Imakewinedisappear's picture

Amazon Kindle users are well aware of these barriers. And systematically move their Kindle registration to several Amazon sites, EVEN within the EU (I juggle among US, UK, DE, IT and FR). I admit it's a real pain, and I would welcome the change.

Herdee's picture

Should apply that to Canada. There's more tariffs and restrictions within Canada than anywhere else.