Europe is struggling to deal with cross-border e-commerce, according to a new report by the Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament.

Despite the potential for online shopping across Europe, consumer confidence is low when it comes to buying online from abroad – only 6% do so, the report says.

Of those that attempt it, many also have difficulties doing so – 33% found that businesses refused to sell products or services because the buyer and seller were not in the same country.

The report added:

“Overall, European consumer and business confidence in the digital environment is low and in certain aspects of e-commerce Europe is lagging behind the United States.”

Pre-internet laws designed to regulate cross-border commerce may be at the source of the problem, according to the research. 

It calls for a strategy to improve customer confidence and create a more attractive business environment for e-commerce; strengthen consumers’ legal protection; as well as voluntary standards and trustmarks for cross-border e-commerce.