Dutch consumers spent €6.58bn online in first half of 2014


Dutch consumers made more than 53 million purchases through the Internet in the first half year, with a total turnover of €6.58bn. As a result, the online market is responsible for 18% of all spending in the market segments that are defined in the Thuiswinkel Markt Monitor. Nearly 4% of all purchases were made online in the first half year. This is evident from the figures from the Thuiswinkel Markt Monitor, the research into online consumer spending in the Netherlands, which is carried out by GfK and powered by PostNL. Thuiswinkel.org, the Dutch association of 2,200 (online) shops in the Netherlands and member of Ecommerce Europe, commissioned the Thuiswinkel Market Monitor.

Online spending is forecast to increase by 6%, to €13.5bn, in 2014
In the first half of 2014, Dutch consumers realized a growth in online spending of nearly 6% compared to the first half year of 2013. The basis of this growth is a strong increase of online spending on products (+17%). However, the online expenditure on services has decreased by 3%, which was caused by a decline in online spending on new insurance policies.

It is expected that total online spending will amount to €13.5bn at the end of 2014, which represents a growth of 6% compared to 2013. The expected increase in purchases is forecast to be higher (8%). With this growth, the total number of online purchased will be 110 million in 2014.

Online products grow by 17%
Wijnand Jongen, Director of Thuiswinkel.org: “The most striking figure is the strong growth of online spending on products (17%), especially when we compare this with indicators that show a decline of about 4% in the purchase of products in stores. Therefore, the slight growth (around 1%) of all sold products in the first half of 2014 is due entirely to the increase of products sold online. In addition, it is also interesting to note that GfK was able for the first time to measure the online sales through tablets or Internet terminals in stores. Of all online buyers, 2% indicated that they also buy products or services online in stores, which contributes to the total online expenditure. Naturally, it is expected that in the future more stores in the shopping street will also sell products and services online in-store.”

Online spending on services declined in second quarter
A comparison between the first and second quarter of 2014 shows that the absolute number of online purchases remains practically the same over the two quarters. Whereas the first quarter (Q1) accounted for 26.8 million online purchases, there were 26.7 million purchases through the Internet in the second quarter (Q2). The online share within the total number of purchases also remained the same, at 4%.

In terms of spending, however, there are significant differences between Q1 and Q2. In Q1, €3.7bn was spent on online purchases, while in Q2 this amount was €2.9bn. The biggest reason for this is that, on an overall level, less purchases were made in services in Q2, and especially in the package tours, individual airline tickets & accommodation and insurance categories. This is mainly due to seasonal influences. In addition, the average amount spent per online purchase of these services in Q2 is also lower than in Q1 (see Table 1). As a result of this, online spending in the service sector, and therefore the total online turnover in Q2 as well, was reduced in comparison with Q1.

Gino Thuij, Managing Consultant at GfK: “It is interesting to see that within the service sector such large differences between quarters arise. Now that the Thuiswinkel Markt Monitor is published every three months, we are better able to identify these seasonal influences than before.”

As a result of the declining online spending on services in Q2, the share of services within the total online expenditure decreased as well. In Q2, 46% of the total online spending of €2.9bn came from purchases of services. In Q1, this share was 58% of the total online expenditure.

On an overall level, the number of purchases of and spending on products has remained virtually stable over the two quarters. However, at a segment level, there are some difference between the quarters. These can also be explained by seasonal influences.

34% of all online buyers shopped through a mobile device in the first half year
The Netherlands had 11.76 million online buyers in the first half of 2014. This means that 85% of the Dutch population of 15 years and older made at least one online purchase in the first half year. There were 4 million mobile buyers in the Netherlands in the first half year, which represents 34% of all online buyers.

The percentage of online expenditure through tablets shows that this device is gaining ground. The share of tablets in online spending grew from 8% in Q1 to 10% in Q2. Not only the number of online purchases through tablets is increasing; the average amount spent per online purchase through tablets is also growing.

Carlos Mendes Aguiar, Commercial Director Parcels and E-commerce Benelux at PostNL: “Increasingly more purchases are made on the move. We see that online buyers want to decide for themselves where and when they want to receive their orders. At home, at work of at a PostNL pick up point. In addition, they want to intervene in the delivery process by having their orders delivered on another day, to another address or to a PostNL pick up point after all. We anticipate this with our delivery and rerouting options. We are currently also running tests with Sunday as a delivery day and support our customers every day by serving millions of online buyers. We do so by offering and further developing relevant delivery options that are oriented towards optimally serving consumers.”