In 2010, 24 percent of individuals in Spain, between the ages of 16 and 74, bought goods online, according to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat). This represents a 17 percent increase from 2008. Travel and holiday accommodations were the most commonly purchased items online, with 15 percent of individuals ordering them online in 2010. This was followed by event tickets, at ten percent, and clothes and sports goods, at seven percent. Internet users were more likely to purchase goods and services online from national sellers (20 percent) than from sellers in other EU countries (7 percent) or sellers outside of the EU (4 percent).
The most popular search engines in Spain are Google and Yahoo. A list of popular news sites and search engines is provided below. In general, there are no impediments to U.S. companies submitting a website or advertising through these search engines. Nevertheless, it is important to check the conditions of participation for each company. In some cases, the search function is powered by another search engine, like Google.
Facebook and Tuenti (www.tuenti.com - a Spanish site) are the clear leaders in social networking.
No, English language sites can be indexed as well as Spanish. Autonomous Regions of Spain which have official languages -- Euskadi/Basque or Catalan -- also allow indexing of English language sites
It is not necessary for a site to have the Spanish domain “.es”. The regulations for obtaining a “.es” domain are included in Order CTE/662/2003 enacted on March 18, 2003. The Spanish-language text of this order and other relevant regulations are available here. The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, through the public entity Red.es, is responsible for registering .es domains. The local domain “.es” can be obtained by individuals with residence in Spain or by public entities such as companies, legally incorporated in Spain. The initial subsidiary of a foreign company can also obtain the local domain, if they are included on the Registro Mercantil (Company registry).
Yes, some of the most popular online marketplaces in Spain are:
Each ISP has different advertising format guidelines, to be checked by the exporter. In general, it is possible to use pop-ups and other advertising tools.
There are regulations against spam and commercial communications, especially for those targeting consumers. We recommend that companies read the report released by the European Union Office titled “EU Moves to Ban Spam”. It provides an excellent background on the issue.
Key regulations affecting e-commerce are:
There is a basic distinction in Spanish e-commerce law between e-commerce companies based in Spain or in third countries. The Spanish legislation on advertising is mostly focusing on the first type. There are restrictions, however, and areas of special protection related to public order, public health and protection of minors. It is recommended to consult a local law firm to avoid legal problems when in doubt.
A buyer is free to use a credit card or other Internet-based financing vehicles to pay over Internet. The most common and continually growing method of payment is through credit cards.
Yes, Internet transactions are recognized as legal contracts, with validity and effectiveness, if the contracts comply with the relevant regulations. The electronic signature is recognized and has legal effectiveness, but it must be certified in accordance with Spanish regulations (Law 59/2003, of 19 December).
We have received no reports of undue delays at customs or in other parts of the logistics chain, for sales to consumers, affecting Internet transacted sales. We recommend companies read the report released by the European Union Office entitled “How EU VAT Impacts U.S.-based Suppliers of Online Content, Software and Services.”
Yes, the government is encouraging electronic services providers to establish Codes of Conduct, in line with European Union recommendations in this area. Royal Decree 292/2004 of February 20, 2004 created a public seal of trust focusing on Information society and e-commerce, and regulates the requirements and procedures of concession. The site www.confianzaonline.es provides a seal of trust and has the backing of the Spanish Ministry of Industry.
Local attorneys are recommended for dispute resolution, but tend to be prohibitively costly for small transactions. In some cases arbitration is also available as a simple and timely conflict resolution mechanism (Article 18 and 32, Law 34/ 2002, July 11) (LSSI). The Secretariat-General of Communications of the Ministry of Development enforces this law.
U.S manufactures can obtain information related to government tenders through the Internet. However, central and local governments do not commonly permit tenders to be submitted through the Internet. These tenders are publicly advertised in the Official State Gazette (BOE), and through the websites of the different ministries or other government bodies. To participate in the actual procurement, a local representative is required.
Companies interested in additional information related to Internet and e-commerce in Spain are invited to contact:
Jesus Garcia Lozano
Senior International Trade Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service
Tel: (34) 915.648.976, ext. 2619
Fax: (34) 915.630.859
U.S companies also can also check the following websites and address for additional information about e-commerce: