Online shopping trend due to coronavirus in the Netherlands 2020

Online shopping in the Netherlands increased significantly since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. All product categories enjoyed an increase in online sales, according to a survey among Dutch consumers. Furthermore, this change in consumer behavior was expected to persist in the post-coronavirus era, as Dutch consumers signaled the intention to increase their online shopping for all product categories. At the time of the survey, clothing and entertainment goods were purchased online by nearly 60 percent of the respondents, making them the most e-commerce-oriented product categories. The hardware and tools market was predicted to make the largest digital shift, with an online shopping increase of almost ten percent.

Online Shopping in the Netherlands

Aside from the change in shopping behavior due the coronavirus lockdown, the survey also revealed that a large portion of Dutch consumers were already more likely to shop on the internet than in physical stores. E-commerce in the Netherlands expanded rapidly in recent years, almost doubling in revenue between 2014 and 2019. From a European perspective, the Netherlands was among the countries with the highest share of online shoppers. As of May 2020, online retailers and Coolblue have been the main drivers behind the expansion of e-commerce in the Netherlands, with Amazon playing a relatively small role. However, the official launch of the Dutch platform in 2020 was expected to send shock waves through the online retail industry in the country.

COVID-19 and shopping behavior

The coronavirus outbreak changed the retail climate in the Netherlands dramatically, as social distancing rules caused the closure of many physical stores in March and April 2020. Unlike in other European countries, shops were not forced to close in the Netherlands. However, a widespread fear, combined with compliance with governments's recommendations to stay at home, led to a freefall of sales in physical stores.

Online shopping behavior before, during and after the coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands in 2020

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Release date

May 2020



Survey time period


Number of respondents

1,026 respondents

Special properties

Dutch consumers

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Survey questions:

1. Before the Coronavirus Disease 2019/Covid-19 outbreak in the Netherlands, how did you usually shop for (product)?
2. How are you currently shopping after the Coronavirus Disease 2019/Covid-19 outbreak for (product)?
3. And how do you plan to shop for (product) after the Coronavirus Disease 2019/Covid-19 outbreak ends in the Netherlands?
Percentages reflect the share of consumers indicating they would by the product online.

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