Loyalty to stereotypes
Online purchases of Lithuanians are determined not only by new trends, but also by various stereotypes and unfounded fears. "The results of the survey of the shopping preferences of the population that was ordered by Lietuvos paštas show that most (as many as 48%) of the Lithuanian population who are still reluctant to buy online are prevented from doing so by the desire and need to closely inspect, touch, and try on the item that they want to buy. Despite the consistently growing number of online shoppers, almost a third of those who do not buy online are usually restricted by the fear of buying the wrong item. A similar part of the population is also worried about the quality of items," says Edita Jurkienė, the Market Research Project Manager and E-commerce Expert at Lietuvos paštas (Lithuanian Post).
The main factors preventing online purchases are related to the objective assessment of price and quality and the subjective analysis of the item's suitability. Therefore, according to the expert, online sellers are advised to make item descriptions as clear and detailed as possible and to put particular emphasis on displaying the items accurately.
Lithuanian online stores are prioritised
The results of the survey show that most participants of electronic commerce prioritise local online stores.
"In terms of the number of shoppers, Lithuanian online stores hold a market share of 64%, while foreign stores hold 36%. Such trends are directly influenced by the delivery and return of goods. Usually people are afraid to buy from foreign online stores not only because of difficulties related to returning the goods or additional shipping costs, but also because of a certain information vacuum caused by the language barrier when the customer is not sure whether he or she read and understood everything right. Such fears become worse when the necessity of interacting and resolving all concerns is considered, if it becomes necessary to communicate with a customer service centre in a foreign country.
The significantly lower interest in foreign online stores is also caused by duties and import VAT, particularly when valuable items are sent not from the EU, but from third countries, such as China and the US. In such circumstances, the price of returning the items increases as well," notes E. Jurkienė.
Still, according to the e-commerce expert at Lietuvos paštas, it is not very surprising that Lithuanians are loyal to Lithuanian online stores because the ratio of local and foreign e-commerce in Lithuania is similar to the ratio in other countries.
According to the data available to Lietuvos paštas, the most frequently purchased items in Lithuania as well as in other countries are clothes, cosmetics and perfumes, household products, domestic equipment, electrical appliances, and books. It is estimated that one online shopper in Lithuania spends on ordered goods about EUR 560 per year on average.
According to the newest data, 38% of the population in Lithuania make an online purchase at least once per year. According to the data of the EU statistical office (EUROSTAT), 33% of the population in Lithuania bought items online in 2016. The number of online purchases that increased by 5 percentage points from the end of 2016 to this day is a significant increase. Although Lithuania is still lagging behind the European Union average, where the number of online shoppers stands at 53%, if international trends are taken into account, it is clear that e-commerce will continue to spread consistently and it will occupy an increasingly larger market share.
A survey of online shopping preferences of the Lithuanian population was ordered by Lietuvos paštas. The survey was conducted in December 2016-January 2017 by the public opinion and market research company "SIC". The survey included 1059 individuals in Lithuania aged 16 to 74.
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