The part of EU with the largest share of e-shoppers and the most popular purchases 

online shopping

In accordance a survey releases by Eurostat, 68 % of internet users in the EU shopped online in 2017 where the largest share of e-shoppers is from the north of the EU.

Main statistical findings

Almost 7 out of ten internet users in the 12 months prior to the survey (hereafter referred as “internet users”) made online purchases in the same period. Overall, the share of e-shoppers in internet users is growing, with the highest proportions being found in the 16-24 and 25-54 age groups (71 % each).

The proportion of e-shoppers varied considerably across the EU, ranging from 23 % of internet users in Romania to 86 % in the United Kingdom.

online shoppers

The most popular type of goods and services purchased online in the EU was clothes and sport goods (64 % of e-buyers), followed by travel and holiday accommodation (53 %). E-shoppers aged 16-24 were the top age group when it came to clothes and sports goods purchases (71 %), those aged 25-54 in buying household goods (50 %) and the older age group (55-74) in online purchases of travel and holiday accommodation (57 %).

In terms of frequency, the highest proportion of e-shoppers made purchases in the three months prior to the survey once or twice (35 %) and the same proportion did so three to five times. In terms of amount spent, the highest proportion of e-buyers (40 %) bought goods or services for a total of EUR 100-499.

33 % of e-buyers made purchases from sellers in other EU countries, compared with 25 % in 2012.

E-shopping growing steadily, with the biggest increase among young internet users

Online shopping is very popular in the EU. The proportion of individuals aged 16-74 having purchased online in the 12 months prior to the 2017 survey stood at 57 %. Consumers appreciate the convenience of being able to shop anytime anywhere, having access to a broader range of products, comparing prices and sharing their opinion on goods with other consumers.

85 % of individuals aged 16 to 74 in the EU had used the internet in the 12 months prior to the survey, of whom 68 % had bought or ordered goods or services for private use. Online purchases by internet users increased by 18 percentage points compared to 2007.

Those aged 25-54 had the highest share of online shoppers among internet users up to 2016. In 2015 the youngest age group (16-24) overtook the EU average level to reach in 2017 the level of 25-54 year olds. E-commerce picked up over the 2007-2017 period among all age groups, with individuals aged 16-24 showing the biggest increase (27 percentage points).

Over eight in ten internet users in the United Kingdom (86 %), Sweden (84 %), Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (82 % each) had bought or ordered goods or services over the internet in the 12 months prior to the survey. On the other hand, fewer than 40 % had shopped online in Romania (23 %), Bulgaria (27 %) and Cyprus (39 %). The largest increases (15 percentage points or more) between 2012 and 2017 were recorded in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Spain and Italy.

Gender, age, level of education and employment situation all affect e-commerce activity. For men, the share of online shoppers among internet users was slightly higher than for women (69 % and 66 %, respectively), while people aged 25-34 are more active e-shoppers (77 % of internet users) than other age groups. The proportion of internet users with higher level of education shopping online (more than eight in 10) is 35 percentage points greater than that of internet users with lower education. Employees and the self-employed (73 % of internet users) and students (70 %) shop online far more than retired/inactive or unemployed people (54 % and 52 % respectively).

Most popular online purchases: clothes and sports goods

Most purchases, by a third or more of e-shoppers, involved clothes and sports goods (64 %), travel and holiday accommodation (53 %), household goods (46 %), tickets for events (39 %) and books, magazines and newspapers (34 %). Fewer than one in five e-shoppers bought telecommunication services (19 %), computer hardware (18 %), medicines (13 %) and e-learning material (6 %).

Source: eurostat – Largest share of e-shoppers in the north of the EU

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