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Online shopping in Europe - statistics & facts

Higher digitalization and purchase habits induced by the COVID-19 pandemic are drastically changing online shopping. In 2022, over half a billion people are forecast to shop on the internet in Europe. New consumers will likely come from the increasing mobile audience, as smartphone commerce besomes an essential online sales sector. Surveys conducted in France, Spain, Ireland, and Germany attested that consumers nowadays buy through mobile devices more often than before the pandemic.

Are in-store and online worlds merging?

Online and physical channels have equal relevance in shopping services, as data on the shopping experience showed. Consumers orient themselves online before their actual purchase — regardless of the final checkout channel — and collect or return their online orders at brick-and-mortar stores. Striking differences in delivery preferences can be spotted among merchandise categories. In France, Germany, and Poland, consumers mostly favor home delivery for apparel and electronics purchases.

Sustainability vs. convenience

Sustainability plays an important role in the delivery criteria mentioned by online shoppers. While delivery is required to be rapid and convenient, packaging — ideally kept at the minimum — should be recyclable and fully reusable in case of returns. More than that, retailers might need to rethink the whole supply chain and fulfillment logistics to make online shopping fully carbon neutral, an option often provided at the expense of consumers through extra order charges. Except for Italy and Germany, less than one-third of e-commerce users is willing to pay to reduce the environmental footprint of their deliveries. In turn, more consumers believed a faster delivery was worthy of an extra charge.

Shopping while doing other things

Surely, online stores and marketplaces remain the main touchpoints of online shopping. However, seeing the remarkable amount of time people spend daily on social media, it doesn't come as a surprise how social media platforms have incorporated the shopping experience as the norm. From before to during the coronavirus pandemic, social media purchases grew by 60 percent in Europe. The impressive progress is lower compared to other world regions, as the share of online shoppers reluctant to social commerce is still considerable.

In the Nordic countries, roughly one-third of consumers purchased on social media. A large share of them were lured by a special discount promotion, while in about the same number of cases, products were exclusively available on social media channels.

The live commerce trend has reached the European audience, too. Products or services displayed during livestream sessions by brands and influencers proved to be more engaging for some merchandise categories such as fashion or cosmetics, while the response of online shoppers differed among European countries. Live shopping appealed to at least four in ten Spanish online users, whereas about the same share of Swedish shoppers did not know about it yet.

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