THE growth of digital shopping across the EU continues unabated with an ever-increasing number of people now shopping online, according to a recent survey from Eurostat.
Two thirds of internet users made an online purchase in 2016, according to the data.
However, the percentages differ vastly across the continent, with 87pc of internet users in the UK making online purchases, compared to just 18pc in Romania.
Ireland was above the overall EU average of 55pc when it came to shopping online. Some 59pc of Irish people surveyed said they made a remote purchase in the 12 months to December 2016.
The most popular type of online purchase was in the area of clothes and sports, which accounted for 61pc of all purchases on the web.
Just over half of e-shoppers (52pc) purchased travel or holiday accommodation.
People between the ages of 25 and 54 spent the most on household goods, while 69pc of those between 16 and 24 spent money on clothes and sports goods.
The oldest age group in the survey – people aged between 55 and 74 – spent most on travel and holidays, with 57pc of people in that age bracket saying they had purchased items in these areas.
Four in 10 e-shoppers said they had spent €100-€499 on their online purchases. Those aged between 16 and 24 made the largest proportion of purchases under the €100 mark.
The vast majority of e-shoppers (68pc) said they had not had any problems when purchasing goods online.
The biggest complaint of those that did find a problem was delivery times; 17pc of respondents stated they had not received their goods in the timeframe which had been agreed with the seller.
Technical glitches or a failure to process a payment was problematic for 13pc of people, while 9pc reported they had received incorrect or damaged goods.
Some 5pc of all respondents said that they had trouble accessing information on guarantees and other rights, while a small but significant 3pc claimed to have been the victim of fraud involving the misuse of credit and debit card details.
The growing trend of inter-country trading within the EU was also highlighted in the data, with 32pc of people having made a purchase from another country within the EU. This still lagged well behind online purchases in domestic markets, which stood at 89pc.
The 2016 survey results were based on responses from a total of 156,152 households across the EU. Individuals were asked about the last time they used the internet, how often they used it, on which devices and how they viewed privacy and the use of personal information.
Undoubtedly, the e-commerce arena is set to grow rapidly over the coming years. Indeed, the past decade has seen the explosion of large online shopping behemoths who have become important players in the world of global finance.
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon is the leading global online shopping provider, with sales exceeding €67bn in 2015.
The popularity of Apple’s tech offering is evidenced by the fact that the company is the world’s second largest e-commerce retailer, with over €20bn in sales generated through online channels, accounting for almost half of all Apple’s retail sales.
Meanwhile, Chinese electronics firm JD.com ranked third in the world with sales of €17.6bn.
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