British Kings of Online Shopping

Foto: Alija - iStockphoto
Photo: Alija – iStockphoto

A study just released by European statistics authority Eurostat has revealed that Brits, Danes, Swedes, and Germans are the biggest fans of online shopping in the European Union (EU). According to Eurostat, 82% of all Internet users in Britain made e-purchases in 2012, followed by Denmark and Sweden, both at 79%, and Germany at 77%. Bottom of the list were Romania and Bulgaria, where only 11% and 17% of all Internet users shopped online.

The most common online purchases in the EU were clothing and sporting goods: nearly a third of all Internet users reported buying things like pants, jackets, or running shoes in the year prior to the survey. A noticeable increase since 2008, when only one in five bought clothing online.

Fashion platform Zalando a popular choice

Buying clothes from online platforms like Zalando was found to be particularly popular in the United Kingdom (51%) and Germany (49%) in 2012 – a sharp increase since 2008, when only 30% of all Internet users in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and 33% of all users in Germany ordered clothes online.

Next page: Online food and grocery shopping not so popular

This article forms part of our retail series. You can find all articles on this subject in our special.

Besides shopping for clothes, Internet-savvy EU citizens are equally fond of booking their travel and holiday accommodation online. Sweden topped the list here at 60%, while Germany came in near the middle at 39%.

Fewer than one in ten, however, used the Internet for online food & grocery shopping in 2012. Across the EU, the average share is 9%, with the United Kingdom leading the way at 21%. Germany, meanwhile, is slightly above the EU average at 11%. In most other European countries, however, the market for online food and grocery shopping seems virtually non-existent: the Czech Republic, Latvia, Romania, and Cyprus, for example, are each reported to have a share of only 1%.

Combination model could strengthen online food and wine trade

Eurostat’s conclusion that online food and grocery shopping lags far behind other e-purchases is consistent with the findings of other studies, for example research conducted in Germany by KPMG and the EHI Retail Institute. This found that only one in ten Germans had ever purchased food or groceries online – including orders for specialty products like wine. Based on these statistics, the low rate of online food purchases is not expected to increase very much in the foreseeable future. That is, of course, unless sales models combining the elements of online ordering, order picking in retail stores, and pick-up by the customer, take hold and drive the online trade in foodstuffs forward. A number of retailers are already experimenting with this concept. The good news for those retailers is that half of the consumers in the study said they could certainly imagine buying food under such a combination model.