This time in our “E-Commerce in…” series, we’re highlighting Portugal, a small country in southwestern Europe that many know as a vacation destination. But beyond sunny beaches, fine wines, and soulful Fado music, this coastal nation is also gaining attention for its rapidly growing e-commerce market. In this article, you’ll find all the relevant details about Portugal’s e-commerce scene, including internet usage, buying habits, key industries, and market leaders, preferred payment methods, and legal specifics.

Numbers and Facts

With just over 10 million residents, Portugal is a mid-sized country in southwestern Europe. In terms of population, it is right between Hungary and Greece, and its population density (112 people per km²) is similar to Austria and Hungary’s.  Most Portuguese live in the western coastal region, particularly in the Greater Lisbon area, which is home to nearly 2.8 million people, over a quarter of the country’s population. 67% of Portugal’s residents live in urban areas.

Portugal’s only bordering country is Spain, and together they form the Iberian Peninsula. Unlike Spain, Portugal is in the Western European Time Zone (UTC+0), which is one hour behind Central European Time (UTC+1).

Portugal ranks 42nd globally on the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) with a score of 0.874 (compared to France’s 0.910 and Austria’s 0.926). Its gross domestic product (GDP) was around US$255.2 billion in 2022, with a per capita GDP of approximately US$24,515 (Germany’s per capita GDP is US$48,718, while France’s is US$40,886).

Portugal has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and is one of the founding states of the Eurozone.

Internet Usage and Buying Habits

Internet penetration in Portugal was at about 85% in 2023, slightly lower than the European average of 91%, which represents a dramatic increase from 50% in 2010. E-commerce is also growing rapidly: Experts expect the e-commerce market size to reach US$5.88 billion in 2024 and grow at a double-digit annual rate to reach US$9.98 billion by 2029. Nearly 50% of the population shops online as of 2023, with 39% making more than one purchase per month and 22% making more than one purchase per week.

Mobile commerce is gaining in popularity and currently accounts for 36% of the country’s total e-commerce sales. Thanks to their convenience, mobile shopping apps are particularly popular — those who shop on mobile prefer apps to shopping in their web browser.

Portuguese shoppers are generally open to foreign brands and products, with about 60% of consumers having purchased from international sellers. Cross-border transactions make up 23% of Portugal’s e-commerce, with China (45%) being the top partner, followed by Spain (16%) and the UK (11%).

Industries, Market Leaders, and Payment Preferences

The leading e-commerce sectors in Portugal are fashion (32%), electronics & media (27%), toys, hobbies & DIY (21%), food & personal care (10%) and electronics (10%).

Major e-commerce players in Portugal include international names like AliExpress, the Spanish Amazon site, Apple, and Zalando. Other significant brands are Fnac and Zara. Among local e-commerce marketplaces, is notable, and comparison sites like and are also popular. However, no single company dominates the market, with even the largest players capturing no more than 5% of the market volume. This makes Portugal an excellent choice for e-commerce brands who are looking to get a foothold in a new market.

When it comes to paying for their online purchases, many Portuguese consumers prefer Multibanco, which is Portugal’s most popular interbank network. It makes it possible for people to pay for their purchases by bank transfer or at ATMs using a purchase reference number.

Bank transfers account for 24% of transactions, followed by debit or credit cards at 23%. Digital wallets are on the rise, currently used in 12% of purchases.  The digital wallet MBWay is part of the Multibanco network, making it a popular local hero.


The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. It’s important to note that the Portuguese spoken in Portugal is different from Brazilian Portuguese. Although the two variants are mutually intelligible, there are differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and usage — much like in British and American English. For this reason, it is important to localize your website and customer service messages specifically for the Portuguese market.

Portuguese is spoken by about 96% of inhabitants as their native language, giving it the overwhelming majority. However, English is a common second language and is often used as a lingua franca in tourist areas such as Lisbon.

Other languages used in Portugal include Spanish (about 10% of the population), French, and Mirandese. Mirandese is an Indo-European and Astur-Leonese language spoken by about 15,000 people in the northeast of the country.

Import and Customs Regulations and Cross-Border Selling

Portugal is an EU member, so there are no customs duties on goods moving between Portugal and other EU countries. Exceptions include energy products, electricity, alcohol, and tobacco.

Since 2021, an EU-wide revenue threshold of €10,000 has applied to intra-EU e-commerce sales to non-taxable persons. If your company sells over €10,000 worth of products in cross-border B2C transactions within the EU, you will need to register for VAT in all member states where you sell to consumers. To simplify this process, you can register for the One-Stop-Shop system and pay all required VAT through a single portal in your home country.

Standard EU guidelines apply to packaging regulations. For EU-based businesses, Portugal poses no unique challenges beyond language requirements. Product information on packaging, labels, brochures, catalogs, or instructions must be in Portuguese. Although not mandatory for all products, it is generally good practice to indicate the country of origin.


Expanding to Portugal offers many advantages for businesses that are already selling within the EU. Portugal has excellent internet penetration and the e-commerce market is growing rapidly, but is not yet consolidated. That means that there is room for new players to gain a foothold in the market.  Moreover, Portugal shows itself to be open to purchasing from foreign brands. Its robust infrastructure and status as an EU member make Portugal an attractive market. Additionally, Portuguese expansion could serve as a stepping stone to the Brazilian market due to the shared language. The main drawback is Portugal’s relatively small population and its location at the far western edge of the EU. Other than that, however, it is a strong candidate as a new target market.



autor_eurotext_100Author: Eurotext Editorial Team

We explain how internationalization works, provide tips for your translation projects and outline some of the technology and processes used. We also report on current e-commerce developments and cover a range of language-related topics.