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European Monitor of Industrial Ecosystems


The retail ecosystem is one of the most important industries in the EU due to its size, the number of employees and its value added. The retail ecosystem is an ‘economic heavyweight’: it creates a gross value added of approx. €1.5 trillion, the highest among all ecosystems. It is also the biggest employer with almost 30 million people employed. Retail is the sector with the highest number of firms, 5.4 million. In the ecosystem, SMEs are the dominating type of enterprise, representing 99.9% of the retail sector enterprises (ibid) and account for 64.2% of the total number of employees, 59% of the turnover and 59% of the value added in the sector (ibid). Additionally, 55% of the enterprises in the EU retail sector operate with no employees, and only one in 10 companies operate with more than five employees. Despite the predominance of SMEs in the retail ecosystem, the EU hosts some of the biggest and more relevant retail enterprises worldwide.

The European Monitor of Industrial Ecosystems (EMI) project has produced its first yearly report on the Retail ecosystem, highlighting data on its progress in terms of its green and digital transition across several dimensions, including industrial performance, environmental impact, technology generation and uptake, start-up trends, investments and funding, and skills.

The data collected and used for this report is also shared in the data package below, relating to the abovementioned dimensions. Wherever possible, the data package allows for time series analyses, as well as comparisons among industrial ecosystems, Member States, and between the EU and other major economies such as the US and China.

Download the report

EMI Retail industrial ecosystem report.pdf
(3.32 MB - PDF)

Download the data package

EMI Data Package Retail.xlsx
(4.96 MB - XLSX)