E-shopping is becoming increasingly widespread in the EU as consumers appreciate the advantages such as being able to shop anytime and anywhere, having access to a broader range of products and being able to compare prices easily.
Among people in the EU who had used the internet in the year prior to the 2017 survey, 68 % were
e-shoppers, meaning they had ordered goods or services online during this period, compared with 50 % in 2007. Looking at the EU Member States, more than 8 out of 10
internet users in the United Kingdom (86 %), Sweden (84 %), Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (all 82 %) shopped online during the previous year.
E-shopping is common among all age groups: in 2017, the highest share of e-shoppers in the EU was observed among internet users aged 25 to 34 (77 %), followed by those aged 35 to 44 years (72 %) and 16 to 24 years (71 %). Among the older internet users aged 65 to 74 years, 52 % had purchased goods or services online during the last year.
Over the last 10 years, the share of e-shoppers in the EU increased for all age groups, but most notably for younger internet users aged 16 to 24 years (from 44 % in 2007 to 71 % in 2017).
In 2017, the highest shares of e-shoppers among internet users aged 16 to 24 years were registered in the Netherlands (90 %), Sweden (89 %) and the United Kingdom (88 %). Also, the United Kingdom (75 %) had the highest shares of older online shoppers aged 65 to 74 years.
Over the last 10 years, the share of younger e-shoppers aged 16 to 24 years increased most in Slovakia (from 24 % to 82 %) and of older e-shoppers aged 65 to 74 years in Denmark (28 % to 64 %) and Belgium (16 % to 46 %).
Around 6 out of 10 e-shoppers in the EU had bought clothes and/or sports goods online during year prior to the 2017 survey, making this the top category of online purchases. Other common purchases included household goods (46 % of e-shoppers in the EU), holiday accommodation (43 %), tickets for events (39 %) and other travel arrangements (38 %), such as transport tickets or car hire. Less common were online purchases of food or groceries (24 % of e-shoppers) and medicine (13 %).
Among the EU Member States, the highest shares of online shoppers who ordered clothes and/or sports goods during the previous year were observed in Romania (75 %), Malta and the United Kingdom (both 74 %).
Buying household goods online was most common in the United Kingdom (65 % of e-shoppers), booking holiday accommodation online in Luxembourg (65 %), ordering tickets for events in Denmark (69 %) and booking other travel arrangements in Sweden (65 %).
In the Netherlands, 37 % of e-shoppers had purchased food or groceries online and 31 % of e-shoppers in Germany had bought medicine via the internet.
Looking in a bit more detail, it appears that age is one factor for explaining differences in the types of goods or services purchased online. The highest share of e-shoppers in the EU who purchased clothes and/or sports goods online in the previous year was found among those aged 16 to 24 years (71 %).
Booking holiday accommodation online in the previous year was most widespread among online shoppers aged 45 to 54 years (48 %) and booking other travel arrangements among those aged 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 years (both 40 %).
The age group of 35 to 44 year olds (55 %) had the highest share of e-shoppers who bought household goods online in the previous year, while the 65 to 74 year olds were the most likely to have ordered medicine via the internet (19 %).
Among the EU Member States, ordering clothes and/or sports goods via the internet was most widespread among younger e-shoppers aged 16 to 24 as well as among the older ones aged 65 to 74 years in Romania (86 % of younger and 69 % of older e-shoppers) and the United Kingdom (83 % and 54 %).
Booking holiday accommodation online was most widespread among older e-shoppers in Luxembourg (63 %) and among younger e-shoppers in Malta (51 %), whereas Cyprus (63 %) had the highest share of older and Estonia (64 %) of younger e-shoppers who booked other travel arrangements.
Lithuania and the United Kingdom (both 56 %) had the highest shares of older e-shoppers that had purchased household goods online, while the United Kingdom (47 %) also had the highest share among younger people.
The majority of e-shoppers (69 %) in the EU had not experienced any problems when ordering or buying online during the year prior to the 2017 survey. Among the problems that were encountered the most frequently mentioned were delay of delivery (17 % of e-shoppers) and technical failures of websites (11 %).