European e-shoppers focus on products and prices, Geopost survey finds
Cash-conscious European e-shoppers are “going back to basics”, focusing more on product quality and prices, buying more on C2C marketplaces, and trying to avoid returns and additional costs, according to the latest Geopost ‘European e-shopper barometer’.
At the same time, they are increasingly using out-of-home (OOH) delivery solutions in addition to home deliveries, Carmen Cureu, Geopost’s Group Market Research Director, told a media briefing yesterday (Feb 5) to present the barometer’s main results for 2023. The barometer is based on over 24,000 consumer interviews across 22 countries.
“Back to basics”
Despite challenging economic conditions and low consumer confidence, e-commerce in Europe “was very resilient” during 2023, she stressed. In particular, “online shopping still has a good image” thanks to clear benefits such as product and price transparency, and consumer convenience.
In terms of the main trends, “e-shoppers are going back to basics” at the moment, Cureu explained. “Price is paramount. E-commerce is seen as a way to save money,” she commented.
In addition, product descriptions are “make or break” for sales at present, with consumers apparently seeking to avoid purchasing the wrong item and then having to return it. This fits into the figure of 14% of purchases being returned last year, which was at the same level in 2022.
Responding to CEP-Research questions, Cureu said the main surprise in the findings was this clear “back to basics” focus and the increased interest in detailed product information, such as for a specific brand or model.
“E-shoppers want more and more information, they do not want to make a mistake and have to return something,” she commented.
Overall, the Geopost barometer showed that the proportion of online purchases out of total retail sales remained unchanged at 15% last year. The number of regular (monthly) online shoppers in Europe was stable at 48%, with 5.2 purchases per month on average, slightly less than in 2022.
Across Europe, these figures vary considerably depending on local market characteristics and consumer preferences, she stressed.
One important customer segment is the high spending, so-called ‘aficionados’ who only make up 15% of e-shoppers but account for 58% of all purchases. They also buy a wider range of goods, with nearly 9 popular categories compared to 6 for the regular e-shoppers.
One clear trend in many European countries last year was the continued rise of C2C shopping and deliveries. According to the Geopost barometer, 72% of European e-shoppers now use C2C platforms, making 12 purchases a year on average. This figure is slightly higher in some important markets such as Poland, the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Another emerging trend is the rise of social media, with 70% of European e-shoppers now using different platforms for shopping purposes. This figure is significantly higher in Poland (82%) and other Eastern European markets but lower in the UK and Germany.
Cureu highlighted “social buying” as an emerging trend in Eastern Europe but still small in Western Europe. “Ultimately I think it will come to Western Europe because social media can put a product on a pedestal to show,” she explained.
Looking at delivery topics, the Geopost barometer showed that, for carriers, “everything matters”. Key issues remain reliable information about where an item is in the delivery process and when it will be delivered; as well as different delivery options.
The big trend is the continued rise of out-of-home deliveries. According to the Geopost findings, 51% of regular e-shoppers use more than one delivery location, which is 3 percentage points higher than in 2022. Of these, 24% prefer to use parcel shops and 23% lockers. Home deliveries remain the most popular option for 76% of e-shoppers, down 2 percentage points on 2022.
Once again, these figures vary significantly between different countries, although home deliveries are the preferred location nearly everywhere.
Asked by CEP-Research about the reasons for the low, generally single-digit, ‘click & collect’ share of deliveries, Cureu explained that many retail chains had reduced store density in recent years while OOH networks now have much higher density than stores. However, stores are preferred in some cases for trying on and possibly returning purchases.