At the start of this year, the Netherlands had about 85,500 physical stores, which is 13,540 fewer than at the start of 2011. This means that one in seven stores has disappeared within ten years, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands. In the same period, online stores appeared like mushrooms: at the beginning of this year there were at least four times as much as ten years ago.
In the past year, nearly 900 stores have closed (about 1 percent). So the decline was somewhat less pronounced in 2020 than in previous years. Remarkably, the COVID-19 pandemic has little impact on the number of stores closed at this time.
In the past year, many shops selling publications and stationery have disappeared. Of these, nearly one in twenty outlets disappeared. Bookstores have suffered, as have sellers of shoes and clothing. The number of stores selling food remained virtually unchanged, while the number of computer and software vendors increased.
The data also shows that shopping intensity is particularly high in the Wadden Islands. Vlieland takes the cake, with nineteen shops per thousand. The municipalities of Wadden occupy the first five places entirely.
On the mainland, Zeeuwse Sluis is the leader with 12.6 stores per thousand inhabitants. Maastricht is at the top of the major cities with an average of 7.1. Below is the Maiden Delveland municipality, with 2.1 shops per 1,000 residents.
So the number of online stores has increased sharply in the past ten years. The Dutch Statistics Office does not say how many people were in the Netherlands at the start of this year. But the increase was not a surprise. Online shopping has been on the rise for years and the epidemic has accelerated it. For example, web store organization Thuiswinkel.org reported earlier this year that more than a quarter of online purchases were made in 2020 compared to the previous year.