E-commerce becomes ever more competitive in comparison to the traditional one – the share of regular online shoppers is growing while such a process of shopping is currently chosen by 1 online shopper out of 2. So what are the trends for e-commerce market and consumer activity in Europe and Lithuania?
Gabrielius Bilevičius
© Bendrovės archyvas

Online shopping is gaining momentum

Data from an international survey conducted by DPDgroup reveals that online purchases in Europe make up 11.3% of all purchases and more than half of shoppers do so at least once a month. According to Gabrielius Bilevičius, sales and marketing manager for the Baltic countries of DPD Lithuania, this is partly due to the experience of the shoppers.

"The share of regular online shoppers in most European countries is increasing, which confirms that online shopping is gaining momentum. Consumers, who have tried shopping at e-shops and have had a positive experience in both the purchase and delivery of goods, continue to choose it. 86% of all online purchases in Europe are made by one-third of all e-commerce shoppers, mostly the large companies. However, the numbers of individual users are growing at a high pace, "said Mr Bilevičius.

Consumer activity is determined by the market size

According to the survey, in Lithuania it is just 9.1% of all purchases that are done online, which is still more than in Latvia and Estonia where the online purchases comprise less than 8% but much lower than in other European countries. According to Mr Bilevičius, such differences also depend on differences in the size of the online trading market between countries.

"In some countries, let's say Italy, Spain, Austria, and especially Russia, the online trading market is growing much faster than in such countries as Latvia and Estonia where its share is still quite low. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has been strengthening its role as the main electronic stores market for Europe. This is coupled with the growing activity of shoppers, especially of those who buy online at least once a week," commented Mr Bilevičius.

Internet accessibility does not reflect the frequency of online shopping

The average rate for Internet connection access, in other words, the share of residents who use the Internet, in Europe is 82%, 54% of online shoppers regularly use the e-commerce services, and this number is growing in many countries. The survey data show that the number of Internet users in the country is not the factor directly influencing the regularity of online shopping.

"In Lithuania, 77% of consumers use the Internet, and 45% of online shoppers buy at online stores at least once a month. Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Latvia, Internet access is only 1% lower, nevertheless, the number of shoppers regularly buying online is just 39 %. The highest penetration of the Internet (93%) is in the United Kingdom, where 66% of all online shoppers buy at least once a month, which is more than the European average. Comparing the penetration of the Internet in different countries, it is observed that this is not the main factor determining the regularity of online shopping," commented Mr Bilevičius as the expert.

Shopping is encouraged by technological innovations

According to Mr Bilevičius, the technological possibilities of online shopping and their development have a significant influence on e-commerce as well as on consumer activity.

"Electronic shops are partly dependent on the development of new technologies. An important impact on them is made by mobile technologies and smart devices, hence creating mobile web sites and gadgets is one of the factors for successful e-business. The new technologies also stimulate impulsive shopping as consumers have the opportunity to buy when they are just connected to social networks. For example, the advertised items there can be obtained by clicking on the advertisement as the potential shopper is automatically redirected to the shopper's cart option on the online store. The other innovative ways of shopping promoting are also emerging, such as voice-activated marketing services and virtual reality, which are already used for e-commerce," explained Mr Bilevičius.

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