This article was last updated on September 28, 2023
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Fewer Online Purchases due to Higher Prices
Not only are we buying less in physical stores, but our online shopping habits have also shifted. According to research conducted by market researcher GFK on behalf of trade organization Thuiswinkel.org, there was a 3% decrease in online spending during the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year.
The decline in online purchases can largely be attributed to high prices. Categories such as home furnishings, electronics, and clothing experienced noticeable decreases. “Consumers are actively saving by refraining from purchases or seeking cheaper alternatives,” explains Marlene ten Ham, director of Thuiswinkel.org. As a result, more consumers are looking beyond their local borders for better deals.
Increase in Online Purchases from Abroad
GFK noticed a slight increase in the number of online purchases being made from foreign countries, especially from China. However, the amount spent on these purchases has actually decreased, as people are now seeking more affordable products.
Shift towards Online Services
Online Services on the Rise
While online purchases of physical items have decreased, spending on online services continues to rise, showing a 10% increase. This includes services like buying event tickets, airline tickets, and hotel stays. Overall, the total amount spent online in the first half of 2023 reached 16.3 billion euros, representing a 2% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
Stabilization and Limited Growth
Unlike physical stores that have faced many bankruptcies, online stores have not experienced the same level of financial struggles. However, Thuiswinkel.org notes a stabilization in the growth of new online shops. The rapid growth seen during the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to level off. Despite this, the number of online expenditures in the first half of 2023 remained higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
The Importance of Q4 for Online Stores
The upcoming fourth quarter is a crucial period for online retailers, as it traditionally generates the highest sales figures. Consumers are accustomed to finding attractive deals and discounts during the holiday season. Marlene ten Ham predicts that the spending patterns in the coming months will align with those seen last year.
Continuation of Declining Spending?
It remains to be seen whether the decline in online spending will persist. The impact of higher prices and consumer behavior during the holiday season will play a significant role. The online retail industry will closely monitor the situation to adapt and meet consumer demands.