Covid-19 has not been a launching pad for e-commerce after all: online sales are actually decreasing worldwide. In countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, decreases as big as by a quarter are measured, now that physical shops are open without restriction again. Moreover, online shoppers are more often just looking, not buying.
Fewer visitors, fewer orders
In the second quarter of this year, web shops received on average 2 % fewer visitors worldwide, while the number of orders dropped by 6 % and total expenditure was 4 % lower. These are some of the conclusions from research by Salesforce into the online shopping behaviour of one billion shoppers in over sixty countries.
The decline can be explained by the Covid pandemic, which catapulted e-commerce to unprecedented heights when physical shops were forced to remain closed in many countries. Reduced consumer confidence due to high inflation will undoubtedly also contribute to the decrease.
Up to a quarter less
In the first quarter of 2022, e-commerce growth in the Netherlands shrank by 27 % compared to the same period in 2021. At that time, the growth rate was 25 % compared to a year earlier. In other words: the Covid effect is completely erased again. Globally, there was a decline of 2 %, while Belgium saw a decline of 11 %. Powerhouse Germany saw online sales drop by a fifth, France and the United Kingdom by a tenth.
The second quarter showed more of the same: online sales were 12 % lower in the Netherlands, 15 % in Belgium. In Belgium there was a little more traffic, but fewer orders than a year earlier. In the Netherlands, there was both less traffic (- 6 %) and fewer orders. While the situation in the UK stabilised somewhat (- 8 %), online sales in France and Germany took a dramatic hit of minus 20 to 25 %.
9 in 10 leave shopping cart behind
Just as customers often do offline, the Internet is becoming a place to browse and look around, without actually ordering. Only one-fifth of orders are placed after using the search function on the site – i.e. with a purpose. Almost nine out of ten digital shopping baskets are simply left behind with the goods still in them. The phenomenon of abandoned shopping baskets is strongest for interior design items, less so for food. But even then, 75 % of smartphone surfers do not complete their order.
Remarkably, the Netherlands has by far the highest conversion ratio of all countries, even higher than the UK and US. About 3.3 % of the visitors buy something, the worldwide average is just 2.2 % – and Belgium even sits slightly below that. Still, almost 80 % of the Dutch mobile shoppers leave behind their full shopping basket, comparable to the Belgians.
Only those who shop on a computer, are more ‘faithful’ with only 70 % of orders left behind. Today, however, 70 % of global visitors shop by smartphone, accounting for 60 % of orders. In the Netherlands, the smartphone is even more established. Tablets, on the other hand, are negligible. Globally, one in twelve online shoppers (8 %) visit a webshop via social media.