1 out of 2 persons in the EU purchased online in 2015

In the European Union (EU), the proportion of individuals aged 16 to 74 having ordered goods or services for private use over the internet (“e-buyers”) has continuously risen, from 30% in 2007 to 53% in 2015. This means that the EU has exceeded its Digital Agenda target of 50% by 2015.

Among EU internet users who did not make any on-line purchase in 2015, 75% reported that they preferred to shop in person and 27% were concerned about payment security and privacy.

Most e-buyers in the EU seemed satisfied with their online purchases: 70% said they did not encounter any problem when ordering online. The most popular items bought over internet were clothes and sports goods (ordered by 60% of e-buyers), followed by travel and holiday accommodation (52%) and household goods and toys (41%).

In 2015, the share of e-buyers was highest in the United Kingdom (where 81% of the total population aged 16 to 74 purchased online), Denmark (79%), Luxembourg (78%), Germany (73%), the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden (all 71%). In contrast, Romania (11% of e-buyers), Bulgaria (18%), Cyprus (23%) and Italy (26%) registered the lowest proportions. Overall, in half of the Member States, the share of e-buyers was above 50%.

In the EU, online shopping is considerably less widespread among the older generations (with 25% of those aged 65-74 shopping online in 2015) than among the younger generations (66% of those aged 16-24 and 70% of those aged 25-34). This difference between the two age groups is largely explained by the fact that older people are less likely to use the internet – for whatever purpose. In fact, the share of online shoppers among silver surfers (internet users aged 65 to 74) has reached 53%, compared with 68% of young internet users.

Among the younger age group (those aged 16 to 24), the share of internet users having purchased online in 2015 was above 50% in most EU Member States, while for those aged 65 to 74, the proportion was above 50% only in the United Kingdom (78%), Luxembourg (69%), Germany (65%), Denmark (63%), Sweden (58%) and France (57%). Overall, in an overwhelming majority of Member States, the highest share of online purchasers among internet users was found in the age group 25 to 34 years. Link