Amazon is launching a new marketplace in the Netherlands later this year, as it looks to further expand its international presence, Business Insider has learned.
Amazon has been reaching out to a group of US-based sellers in recent months to discuss the launch of a broader Dutch marketplace that sells a variety of consumer products, according to several merchants who spoke to Business Insider. That would be a change from Amazon's current Dutch site that only sells e-books. Merchants that sell on the new Dutch site would have access to Amazon's fulfillment service too, these people said.
The move reflects Amazon's continued effort to expand globally, even as its international segment has seen mixed results in recent years. Its international business has shown slower growth lately, despite having invested billions of dollars in overseas markets. Last year, Amazon launched new marketplaces in the UAE and Singapore, but shuttered its service in China.
Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is visiting India this week, where he's pledged to invest an additional $1 billion after having spent roughly $7 billion in the region so far. India has been a challenging market for Amazon as local regulators have recently tightened restrictions on foreign marketplaces.
After Business Insider reached out to Amazon for comment, the company published a blog post confirming the launch of the new Dutch marketplace.
"We are really excited to be launching a more comprehensive shopping experience on Amazon.nl", Alex Ootes, Amazon's VP of EU Expansion, said in the blog post.
Will Land, cofounder of Marketplace Valet, a consultant agency for online sellers, told Business Insider that Amazon's expansion into the Netherlands is primarily driven by the growing number of Dutch customers, who mostly order through Amazon's German and UK sites.
"There's a lot of Dutch purchasing off of Amazon's European sites," Land said.
One seller, who wanted to remain anonymous due to confidentiality agreements, said that the option to activate seller accounts on Amazon's Dutch site started showing up in recent weeks. The option appears alongside Amazon's other European marketplaces, including the UK, French, and German sites, according to a screenshot seen by Business Insider. Another seller said that Amazon reached out to discuss shipping details as US-based sellers need to figure out how to export their products to the Netherlands.
It's unclear how many products or third-party sellers will be available on the Dutch marketplace. When Amazon launched its new UAE site last year, it started with roughly 10,000 sellers, while its marketplace in Singapore had a smaller seller base of just 500, according to a report by Marketplace Pulse. Amazon's US marketplace has roughly 3 million active sellers, the report said.
Amazon first launched a Dutch site in 2014 that only sells e-books. In 2017, Amazon started offering Prime memberships and fast delivery to customers in the Netherlands through its German site. Amazon's first office in Amsterdam opened in 2018.
Amazon currently has 15 marketplaces around the world, making the Dutch service its 16th globally. The US marketplace is by far the largest, but the marketplaces in the UK, Germany, and Japan are also big enough to require separate revenue disclosures.
Amazon generated $65.9 billion from international markets in 2018, which accounted for roughly 28% of its total sales, according to company filings.
But Amazon's international segment has seen a slowdown over the past year. The sales growth dropped to just 9% in the first quarter of 2019, before bouncing back to 18% in the third quarter, its most recent quarterly report. That's still lower than the 21% annual sales growth reported in 2018.