Increase in online shopping among older generation

© Hollandse Hoogte
The number of people in the Netherlands making online purchases has increased further. So far in 2018, 78 percent of Dutch consumers say they have made a purchase via the Internet, as against 76 percent last year. The sharpest increase in the share of online shoppers is seen among the over-65s, according to recent results from the survey ‘ICT usage in households and by individuals 2018’ conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).


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Of the Dutch population aged 12 years and over, around 11.5 million people, 78 percent indicated they had purchased goods or services online this year, as against 64 percent in 2012.

The share of online shoppers has increased most notably among people aged 65 and over: from 25 percent in 2012 to 45 percent in 2018. Of 25 to 44-year-olds, 94 percent stated they had shopped online in 2018, versus 83 percent of 45 to 64-year-olds. In 2012, these shares were 83 and 64 percent respectively.

Online purchases, by age
Leeftijd2018 (%)2012 (%)
12 to 24 yrs8270
25 to 44 yrs9483
45 to 64 yrs8364
65 yrs and over4525

Clothing and sports items most popular online purchases

In 2018, the items most frequently bought online were clothing or sports goods (56 percent), trips and accommodation (50 percent), tickets for events (46 percent) and household goods and appliances (38 percent). The strongest increase is seen in the categories clothing or sports goods and household goods and appliances. In 2012, these products were purchased by 31 and 16 percent respectively.

Of all goods and services bought online, films, music and books showed the lowest increase in sales; 15 percent purchased these items via the Internet in 2012, versus 16 percent this year.

Online purchases, by type
Categorie2018 (%)2012 (%)
Clothing or sports goods55.531.2
Trips and accommodations49.834
Tickets for events45.825.5
Household goods and appliances3815.8
Books, magazines and newspapers30.522.9
Telecommunication services (subscriptions)24.512
Software/hardware and electronic equipment22.312.8
Groceries, cosmetics and cleaning products15.97.3
Digital study or learning materials15.74.7
Film, music15.614.6

Increase in recent e-shoppers

The growing number of Dutch people shopping online is partly because the number of recent e-shoppers has risen substantially in recent years, from 46 percent in 2012 to 64 percent in 2018. Recent e-shoppers are those who had made online purchases in the three months prior to the survey. Out of the 11.5 million online shoppers this year, 9.4 million indicated they had done so in the past three months.

Online purchases
JaartalTotal online purchases (%)Recent e-shoppers (%)

Frequency and value of online purchases are rising as well

Dutch people state they are buying something online more frequently. One-quarter had shopped online three, four or five times in the three months prior to the survey, 10 percent six to ten times and 9 percent more than ten times.

Aside from frequency, the amount spent on purchased items is rising as well: often between 100 and 500 euros in the three months prior to the survey. One-quarter of Dutch consumers bought items within this price range during this period, versus 18 percent in 2012.

This year, 6 percent spent one thousand euros or more in the past quarter, as against 3 percent in 2012.

Amount spent on online purchases
JaartalLess than 50 euros (%)50 to 100 euros (%)100 to 500 euros (%)500 to 1,000 euros (%)1,000 euros or more (%)

Most purchases within the Netherlands

The vast majority of consumers purchased goods or services via Dutch webshops: 69 percent in 2018. Around one in three also made these purchases from other EU countries. Nearly one-quarter bought products from other parts of the world.