Belgian e-commerce has grown quite handsomely in the third quarter, as online sales of travel packages are catching up after the pandemic. Belgians are taking full advantage now that they can travel again, but at the same time they are cutting back on purchases of (luxury) goods.
Average spending increases
In the third quarter of 2022, Belgians have spent 3.6 billion euros online, up 12 % compared to a year earlier. For the three quarters combined (January to September), this means an online turnover of 10.8 billion euros, or an increase of 23 %. The number of shoppers did fall slightly: 6.9 million Belgians have shopped online at least once in the third quarter (- 2 %). Together, they made 40.9 million online purchases, the same number as a year earlier. The average spending per online shopper rose by 14 %, from 462 to 525 euros. This is all according to BeCommerce Market Monitor, a survey conducted by GfK for sector federation BeCommerce.
Behind the figures are some diverging trends: online purchases of essential products, such as food and drinks, are still experiencing growth, but sales of luxury products, such as clothing, toys and household electronics, are falling. Consumers are saving in a period of uncertainty.
Travel on the rise
On the other hand, online sales of package holidays, airline tickets and accommodation are on the rise. “Belgians preferred experiences to luxury products this third quarter, perhaps this is also a case of ‘catching up’ after the stricter 2020 and 2021 measures on travel and events”, BeCommerce spokesperson Viktor Nuytten observes. “Travel in particular was very strong. Per purchase, Belgians spend an average of 799 euros on package holidays and 384 euros on travel (airline tickets and accommodation) outside a package.”
Bancontact remains the most popular online payment method for Belgians, accounting for 52 % of all online purchases and 43 % of all online spending. Consumers still shop most often on laptops, although smartphones continue to gain in popularity, accounting for 29 % of online purchases. The convenience of ordering from home remains the main reason for four in ten shoppers to shop online, shipping costs remain the biggest barrier for 35 % of shoppers, still significantly less than the 45 % a year ago.