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Online Shopping Guide For Belgium

Your Complete Online Shopping Guide For Belgium

Last Updated on April 29, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

Online shopping is here to stay. In 2018 Belgians bought online for over 1.8 billion euros, an increase of 8% compared to 2017 and +29% compared to 2015.
2020 saw a further increase in physical goods but an overall drop in online sales because of holiday trips, concert tickets, and service cheque sales completely collapsing. This shows there is still a lot of growth potential in Belgium.

Explosive growth is only natural as there are a lot of benefits to online shopping:

  • It’s easier to compare
  • You don’t have to move physically to a store
  • There are millions of products at your fingertips only a search away

Putting all of these benefits together inadvertently will save you money. Finding the right shop is important.

Because the internet is such a big place, this guide helps you find the right webshop for the product you are looking for so you can do your online shopping in Belgium safely.

The online sites I mention here are my top picks for online shopping in Belgium. I ordered them category so it’s easy to find the sites for your shopping need.

If you haven’t done so already, read my post on the 4 safety checks you should do when shopping online. You don’t want to lose all of that hard-earned money to fake webshops.

Want to get shopping right away? Here is an easy overview of the top sites for online shopping in Belgium:

CategoryNameSiteKey selling pointMain work point
Note: Most of these site also sell other things but I listed them under their main selling point.
ElectronicsHardware.infohardware.infoEasy searchLimited to hardware
ElectronicsTweakers.nettweakers.netExtensive searchFocused on technical details
ClothingZalandozalando.beLarge clothing choiceQuality?
Second-hand2dehands2dehands.beLargest second-hand offeringQuality controle (fake accounts)
GroceriesColruytcollectandgo.beSave timeExtra costs delivery
FurnitureIKEAikea.beCheap furnitureCheaply made
Books, Everything elseBol.combol.comHuge amount of booksFluctuating prices
Everything elseAmazonamazon.de (or .nl, .fr)Has everythingHuge differences in price and quality

Electronics — Tweakers.net and Hardware.info

Technically (pun intended 😉 ) they are almost one and the same nowadays thanks to a recent merger of their newsrooms. But when it comes to comparing prices online during your hunt online for the best electronics prices, both sites are a must when it comes to anything electronics.

  • Hardware.info focuses solely on hardware and gives you clear information about computer hardware and consumer electronics.
  • Tweakers.net has a more general approach to anything tech and focuses more on the ‘tweaker’ aka a person interested in ‘tweaking’ electronics.

Both Dutch tech sites offer an extensive comparison tool that helps you find the cheapest price for any electronic gadget your heart desires.

Hardware.info

Search best electronics prices through Hardware.info
Finding your electronic gadget at the best price is easy through the search of Hardware.info.

The quickest way to find what you are looking for is by simply searching for it through Hardware.info‘s search bar.
Just type in what you are looking for, e.g., ‘Apple Watch’, and you immediately get a selection of products.

By clicking on the product you are interested in, you get an overview of all the available shops that offer this product with the cheapest one on top.

Price comparison of Apple Watch on Hardware.info
A quick and easy to use search gives you the best prices for the product you are looking for.

This applies to all products. Need advice on a new laptop or computer, they got you covered. Once you found what you are looking at at the best price you can immediately go to the shop and checkout.

It’s always good to compare a bit more, so Tweakers.net also has an amazing comparison tool to help you find the best deal.

Tweakers.net

Tweakers.net works essentially the same. By searching through their search bar you get a list of items and once you click through, you get a beautiful overview of the product you are looking for with the cheapest price up top. Their layout is a bit different compared to Hardware.info.

On Tweakers.net you get an overview of the different versions of a product. By selecting your preferred version, you come to a similar price comparison chart.

Their coolest feature is without a doubt the price evolution graph showing the historic pricing of the product you researched.

Both sites offer more than just their humongous list of products:

  • Extensive filtering to find the perfect fit.
  • Thousands of reviews to make sure you get the right product for your need.
  • A thriving community that backs them up making them a lively place to hang around. On their forums, you can ask for any help you could possibly need.
  • A second-hand market place where you can buy or sell second-hand electronics.
Online Shopping In Belgium For Electronics Through Tweakers.net
Online Shopping In Belgium For Electronics Through Tweakers.net

shopping online in Belgium for electronics is also easy as pie through Tweakers.net.

Tweakers.net Price Comparison Incl. Price Evolution Graph.

Undoubtedly one of the best features of Tweakers.net is their price evolution graph showing the history of the price.

Price Comparison Of Apple Watch On Hardware.info

A quick and easy to use search gives you the best prices for the product you are looking for.

Highlights

Hardware.info

  • Easy to use the search bar for all your electronics.
  • Wide range of filtering options.
  • Detailed hardware reviews of products some even accompanied by video review.

Tweakers.net

  • Easy to use the search bar for all your electronics.
  • Wide range of filtering options.
  • A good overview of price evolution with even better deals through the forum.
  • Thriving community through forum and comments under articles. Willing to help you in any way possible.

Weak points

Hardware.info

  • More limited towards hardware, fewer gadgets.
  • Less detailed price overview.
  • No active forum/community anymore.

Tweakers.net

  • Not always as detailed reviews as you would like, especially if you are more technically skilled.
  • Scoring can be a bit strange at times.
  • More focussed on technical individuals, so while reviews aren’t always as detailed they can still come off as challenging to read for the less technically informed.

Clothing — Zalando

Zalando.be, the online clothing store for Belgium
You will find anything you want to wear.

Zalando.be has been an online clothing household name for almost a decade in Belgium.
Their online store offers a wide variety of clothes for women, men, and children alike.

They have over 3,000 brands in their catalog. Everything from 10DAYS to Adidas, all the way to Ziener. And you aren’t limited to clothes, they have accessories, as well as beauty products such as perfume.

Zalando.be helps you find the perfect dress or trousers for any occasion. Each product has an extensive description making sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Their 100 days return policy and review system give you worry-free shopping.

The only real downside that I have noticed is that it’s not always clear what kind of quality you can expect, even though you can search for the brand and look at the product details it’s only after you receive the product that you know exactly what you paid for.

Will their catalog is massive, they don’t offer all brands, especially certain quality brands are missing. What do I mean? Take the Belgian shirt-brand Formen. This quality shirt maker, of which I’m a huge fan by the way, isn’t available at Zalando. Of course, Formen has their own webshop, but it just goes to show, not everything is on Zalando.be.

Other safe online shopping options for clothes are:

Highlights

  • Wide range of branded clothing.
  • Easy to compare prices for anything and everything.
  • Safe shopping through their online payment platform.
  • Quick and easy 100-day-return policy.

Weak points

  • Unknown quality even if you get quality brands.
  • Overchoice or choice overload making it very hard to actually choose something.
  • Ethical?

Second-hand — 2dehands.be

2dehands.be the biggest second hand site in Belgium
When you look for something second hand, you will most likely find it on 2dehands.be.

2dehans.be has declined a bit over the years, especially after it got bought by eBay in 2013 but it remains the largest secondhand site in Belgium. They still offer some good deals, but you have to be extra careful of scammers. They are trying to improve but they have a long way to go. The amount of fishy or downright scammy postings has increased over the years.

This issue also plagues Facebook MarketPlace, however to a lesser degree since it’s linked to Facebook. They offer better security and it’s easier to know who you are dealing with. Nonetheless, I advise anyone that is looking to purchase second-hand goods, to take a look at SafeOnweb’s tips.

Highlights

  • 2-factor authentication using SMS messaging.
  • Largest second-hand platform in Belgium.
  • A wide range of goods, Anything is on offer.

Weak points

  • Spotty quality check of postings by the 2dehands platform.
  • Resulting in more possible scams
  • No way to pay safely through the platform

Groceries — Collect & Go (by Colruyt)

Collect & Go, Colruyt’s online grocery site and the app is my top pick for online grocery shopping.

In the past ordering groceries online wasn’t the greatest in Belgium but this got improved over the past few years. Now the cheapest bulk grocery store, Colruyt, has an excellent online grocery service.

Colruyt is especially interesting when you order in bulk. This makes it less interesting for people living in smaller apartments with less storage area -like myself- but a good alternative is Shop&Go by Delhaize albeit a bit more expensive.

Shop&Go is also recommended when you are looking for more special products like passion fruits or certain herbs and spices though it’s more expensive.

Service costs

Unfortunately for both the convenience comes at a price, a price I haven’t been willing to pay since I also like to see my food, especially fresh produce. You have to pay service/delivery costs. it’s not a huge amount but it does add over time. For Colruyt it’s 5.50 EUR. Delhaize has a more complex price structure detailed on their site but in general, it can go from 4.95 EUR to 12.95 EUR with supplements for certain goods.

Highlights

  • You save time, someone else does the running around for you 
  • Easy to prepare your shopping list from the convenience of your home.

Weak points

  • Not able to verify the (fresh) products.
  • Service costs that can add up quickly, especially over the long run

Furniture – IKEA

There is no way around IKEA is there? When it comes to cheap yet decent furniture everyone thinks of IKEA, and with good reason. Even when looking shopping online for furniture, IKEA is a must-visit.

They have their entire catalog online in a neat and clean design that easy to navigate. What more can a customer ask for.

IKEA.be lets you search, check out their products by type, living space (kitchen, bathroom, etc.) or, if you lack inspiration, you guessed it, inspiration!

Online shopping in Belgium for furniture through IKEA
online furniture shopping in Belgium is best done through IKEA.be.

I bought my fair chair of IKEA stuff, both online and offline. Both experiences were good and I can’t say I have anything to complain about, even during the strange year that was 2020. Though here as well does the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies.
Not that you won’t enjoy it, the IKEA bed me and my wife are using at the moment, was original bought for my sister during her student years, that was 10 years ago. And while the slatted bottom is nearing its end, the frame is still good as new.

Lacking furniture inspiration? Get inspired by IKEA
If you ever lack inspiration on how to organize a room? Look no further than IKEA’s inspiration section. I can almost guarantee you’ll find new ideas.

Highlights

  • A humongous catalog to find the perfect chair, bed, or household appliance.
  • Cheap yet decent furniture for everyone!
  • 365 days return policy. It doesn’t fit in your room, or the real color isn’t to your liking after all? Just return it!

Weak points

  • Delivery costs are exceptionally high. IKEA claims it’s the real cost of shipping, but I doubt it costs 30 euro to ship a potato peeler.
  • While decent, it’s not everlasting. A solid wooden bed will last generations, an IKEA bed, about 10 years if you take care of it.
  • Not everything is as comfortable. The sofa pillows or chairs aren’t always the most ergonomic. You really get what you pay for.

Books – Bol.com

Quite a lot of online choices when it comes to books. I’d like to highlight 2 stores for different reasons:

  • Amazon.nl – A humongous offer of paperback and ebooks.
  • Bol.com – Excellent selection of new Dutch books at a reasonable price

Some of the books that I have purchased from bol.com are:

 

A good alternative is De Slegte. They are a Belgian book store best know for its second-hand book offer. You can really get some excellent second-hand books from here as well.

Highlights

  • A larger range of Dutch books.
  • Free shipping as of 20 EUR.

Weak points

  • Prices tend to be a bit higher on average compared to Amazon, but you can get good deals if you compare.

Almost Everything — Amazon.nl and Bol.com

Amazon.de and bol.com are 2 options for ‘everything else’.  Why Amazon and bol.com then? Well, these two offer the best price for anything you are looking for.
Many web shops offer diverse options of almost everything, but bol.com and amazon are trustworthy and user-friendly, with a rapid and often free next-day delivery.

I recommend looking at both at the same time before buying anything. Chances are that one is sometimes cheaper than the other. Having one specific favorite is difficult, but if I had to choose, I’d go with amazon. Overall I have noticed they have a wider range and usually at a cheaper price.

AliExpress is also worth a look though you need to be just as cautious as with the second-hand online websites. There are some great deals to be had, but you have to be critical of the offers. Like always, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Will a Bluetooth speaker, not even 1/10th of a JBL Bluetooth speaker work just as well? Doubtful.

Tips for online shopping

Online shopping in Belgium has taken off, and with this guide, it’s tempting to do all your shopping online from now, but be careful.

Keep these tips in mind before pressing that buy button:

  1. Not everything is necessary cheaper online. Don’t forget to have a quick look at your local shop. You’d be surprised what they have to offer and sometimes at an even lower price than online!
  2. While it’s easy, don’t fall into the trap of buying what you want. Be mindful of your expenses. Before buying something, make sure you need it.
  3. Let some time go over before you buy. Sometimes by waiting for the next day, we realize we can do without this purchase, and we just wanted to get the newest smartphone even though the current one still works fine.
  4. Earn money while shopping online by using cashback!
  5. Pay attention to the currency you pay in your online shop. Especially with AliExpress, you might be buying in a different currency.
  6. Be safe! Take care of yourself, and don’t fall for scammers. Read SafeOnWeb’s tips for a secure web shopping experience.
  7. If you decide to order outside of the EU, pay attention to extra taxes and duties. Know that if you make a purchase outside of the EU, there will be new regulations in effect as of July.

Have you done more online shopping in 2020 or do you still go for offline experience?
Do you have a favorite online or offline store that you always shop at?
Got some other tips others should be aware of when shopping online in Belgium?

Please share by leaving a comment down below.

Mr. FightToFIRE

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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financialfreedomsloth

For amazon it can even be usefull to compare amazon.de with amazon.fr
The range does differ a bit between the two and so does the price (but pay attention to shipping as this too is different). I even used to check with amazon.co.uk but with the Brexit now looming very closely I am going to skip this one for the next few months.

Nico

Hello Mr. Fight To Fire !

Great article, super useful !

I’d like to share with you my 2 cents (being frugal hehehe) on the subject.

You mentioned some 2nd hand options to get cheaper deals. For clothing, I just recently discovered VINTED which I find great. Not everyone is keen to buy 2nd clothes, but I personally think it is great – you can buy quality brands at 10% of the initial retail price and for certain items like leather jackets this can save you literally hundreds of euros.

Also, you seem to suggest that an extra 5 eur on Colruyt collect + go puts you off the service. I think it is worth the time saved 🙂 yes 5 eur does add up over time…. but so does 1 hr at the grocery store! For quality fruit and veg, I recommend GASAP/agricovert which can be cheaper, more eco-friendly and tastier! For meat, you can find high quality cuts from the countryside delivered to cities through various channels (some informal), but this implies investing in a freezer which is absolutely essential if you are serious about saving time and money.

Have a good week, nico

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