These are among the results of the 2013 Consumer Conditions Scoreboard published by the European Commission. The results show that a fresh impetus is needed to ensure that consumers can buy with equal confidence and ease across the EU, whether online or offline. One key finding is the decrease in consumer trust matched by an increase in the use of redress.
The Maltese seen to engage a lot in cross-border e-commerce but are not that happy with how their complaints are dealt with.
Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for Consumer Policy welcomed the Scoreboard and said "There has been progress notably in the spread of e-commerce but improvements are needed in other areas. The Scoreboard shows us where we should focus our efforts. It is our window on the market. Its outcome will be reflected in my future actions such as setting up the online-dispute resolution platform or better enforcing rules against unfair commercial practices."
The largest absolute increase in e-commerce between 2008 and 2012 (of more than 20 percentage points) has been noted in Belgium, Slovakia, Malta and Sweden. In Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus, more consumers engage in online cross-border shopping than domestically (the respective percentages are 60% vs. 22%, 38% vs. 7% and 19 % vs. 4%).
The proportion of online cross-border shoppers has grown in all countries since 2008. The largest increases are observed in Malta (21 percentage points), Luxembourg (17), Belgium (16) and Finland (15). The highest proportions of businesses (over a tenth) that engage in cross-border sales were found in smaller countries: 13 % in Malta and Ireland, 12% in Belgium, Lithuania and Czech Republic, 11% in Luxembourg.
At country level, web sales to consumers represent over half of the overall turnover from the web channel in Malta (81%), Lithuania (77 %), Bulgaria (60%), Ireland (56 %), Portugal (54 %) and France (53%).
The majority of consumers do not agree that retailers/providers comply with consumer legislation in the following five Member States: Greece (60 %), Czech Republic (58 %), Bulgaria (56 %), Cyprus (54 %) and Malta (51%).
The highest level of satisfaction is noted in Sweden and in Finland (both 77 %), Germany and Slovenia (both 75 %) while, at the other end of the scale, less than half of consumers are satisfied with how their complaints are dealt with in Malta (36 %) and Spain (48 %).