Half of online shoppers have complaints

© Hollandse Hoogte / Patricia Rehe
Of the Dutch population who have shopped online over the course of 2019, half have reported complaints. In 2015, 40 percent said they experienced problems related to online purchases. Late delivery is the most frequently quoted complaint. This is according to recent figures taken from the survey on ICT usage by households and individuals in 2019, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This annual survey was carried out in 2019 among 5.6 thousand people aged 12 years and over.

Experienced problems when shopping online (% of persons aged 12 yrs and over)
Problemen20192015
Total 5140
Late delivery3423
Technical problems1412
Incorrect or damaged goods139
Unable to find information on warranty97
Lodging a complaint was difficult86
No delivery of goods or services to the Netherlands74
Final costs were higher33
Fraud, e.g. no delivery or credit card abuse32
Other55

Dutch people increasingly shop via the internet and purchase more items. In 2019, 79 percent of the over-12s, i.e. around 11.8 million people, indicated they had made an online purchase. This was 70 percent in 2015. Late delivery of the ordered products is one of the most frequent problems among online shoppers; one-third (34 percent) had complaints about this, while in 2015 this share was still less than one-quarter (23 percent).

The second and third most cited complaints are technical problems during the ordering and payment process (14 percent) and receiving incorrect or damaged goods (13 percent). In 2015, these two complaints were reported slightly less frequently at 12 and 9 percent respectively.

Difficulty in finding warranty information, in lodging a complaint and no delivery in the Netherlands were quoted by around 8 percent. The percentage of online shopping fraud victims as a result of goods or services not being delivered has hardly changed.

More recent e-shoppers

The growing number of Dutch people shopping online is partly due to the sharp rise in recent e-shoppers over the past few years. Recent e-shoppers are those who had made online purchases in the three months prior to the survey. In 2019, 64 percent belong to this group, while this was 10 percentage points lower four years previously.

Out of the 11.8 million online shoppers this year, 9.5 million indicated they had done so in the past three months. Eleven percent (1.6 million) said they had never made an online purchase, versus 15 percent in 2015.

Number and value of purchases rising

Not only has the number of online shoppers gone up, they have also made purchases more frequently in recent years. In the three months prior to the survey, 23 percent of the Dutch had made three, four or five online purchases. This was still 20 percent in 2015. Nearly one-fifth purchased something more than six times, against 10 percent in 2015.

The amount spent on purchased items is rising as well. Amounts spent online were most likely to be between 100 and 500 euros; 26 percent of the Dutch population made purchases in this price category this year. This was 21 percent in 2015. Online purchases of thousand euros or more were made by 5 percent.

Men are more likely to purchase via the internet and they also spend more on average. Ten percent of men said they had made more than ten online purchases in the three months prior to the survey, versus 8 percent of women. Furthermore, 15 percent of men and 9 percent of women had spent a total of five hundred euros or more in this period.

Spending on online purchases (% of persons aged 12 yrs and over)
JaarNothing / Do not knowLess than 50 euros50 to 100 euros100 to 500 euros500 to 1000 euros 1000 euros or more
2019408142675
2015479142163

Mainly clothing and sports items

In 2019, the items most frequently bought online were clothing or sports goods (55 percent), trips and accommodation (52 percent), and tickets for events (47 percent). Ordering meals at a restaurant, fast food chain or meal delivery service was mentioned by 35 percent.

The strongest increase was seen in the categories food, cosmetics or cleaning, and household goods and appliances. Of all goods and services bought online, films or music and tickets for events showed the lowest increase in sales.

Online purchases (% of persons aged 12 yrs and over)
Goederen20192015
Clothing or sports goods5542
Trips and accommodation5240
Tickets for events4745
Household goods or appliances3824
Groceries, cosmetics or cleaning products3115
Books, magazines or newspapers3128
Software/hardware, electronic equipment3025
Film, music1715
Pharmaceuticals95

Traditional shopping sometimes preferred

Around 2.2 million Dutch people indicated they had not made any online purchases in the year prior to the survey. As a main reason, 80 percent said they preferred to visit a shop, for example to check out the merchandise. Nearly three in ten were concerned about security and privacy and did not want to submit credit card details or other personal data. Over one-quarter indicated they did not know how make an online purchase.