More purchases being made online

© Hollandse Hoogte
Dutch consumers increasingly use the Internet to make everyday purchases. So far in 2017, over one-quarter have purchased foodstuffs or cosmetics online, as against 19 percent one year previously. The items most frequently bought online are clothing and sports goods, according to recent results from the survey ‘ICT usage in households and by individuals, 2017’ which has been conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

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Of the Dutch population aged 12 years and over, 76 percent stated they had made an online purchase this year as against 73 percent one year previously. In 2016, 19 percent bought food or cosmetics online, but this share is already 26 percent for 2017.

Online purchases of groceries or cosmetics

An upward trend is seen in virtually all other purchases of goods and services via the Internet. The most popular items remain clothing (52 percent), trips and accommodations (48 percent) and tickets for events (45 percent).

Online purchases
 2017 (%)2016 (%)
Clothing or sports goods52.048.0
Trips and accommodation47.644.2
Tickets for events44.938.3
Household goods and appliances34.928.7
Books, magazines and newspapers29.629.1
Software/hardware and electronic equipment28.926.1
Groceries, cosmetics and cleaning products26.118.5
Telecommunication services (subscriptions)23.220.2
Film, music16.414.8
Digital study or learning materials12.29.8

Dutch buying more and spending more online

Not only did more people shop online, but they also made slightly more purchases this year. In the three months prior to the survey, 23 percent of Dutch consumers had made three to five online purchases, versus 20 percent in 2016.

They also spent a slightly higher amount. In most cases, this is between 100 and 500 euros; 25 percent of the Dutch population made purchases in this price category this year. This share was slightly smaller in 2016 at 23 percent. Online purchases of 1,000 euros or more were made by 5 percent.

Online purchases during past 3 months in euros, 2017
 % (%)
Less than 508
50 to 100 15
100 to 50025
500 to 1,0007
1,000 or more5

Men buy and spend more than women online

In 2017, 7 percent of men said they had made more than ten online purchases in the three months prior to the survey, versus 5 percent of women. Not only do men make more online purchases, they also spend more. In 2016, 6 percent of men made online purchases worth 1,000 euros or more, while only 3 percent of women spent this amount.

Online purchasing problems, 2017
Late delivery24
Technical problems13
Incorrect or damaged goods10
Information on warranty or rights8
No delivery of goods or services7
Complaints handling and refunds6
Other problems6
Final costs4

Most complaints about late delivery

The growing number of e-shoppers goes hand in hand with a rising number of complaints. In 2016, 42 percent said they had encountered problems in the preceding year; this year, the share has gone up to 45 percent. Late delivery of the ordered products is the most frequently quoted problem, affecting nearly one-quarter of customers. In second and third place respectively were technical issues during the ordering or the payment (13 percent) and receiving incorrect or damaged goods (10 percent).

Need for traditional shopping main reason not to shop online

Around 2.5 million Dutch people indicated they had not made any online purchases in the year prior to the survey. As a main reason, approximately 80 percent say they prefer to visit a shop, for example to physically see the product. Other reasons (each mentioned by over 30 percent) include not knowing how to make an online purchase of goods or services, little experience in doing so, and having safety and privacy concerns. Lack of confidence in correct delivery, complaint handling and return shipment procedures play a smaller role.