Dutch Consumer Online Spending in China Nearly Doubles in Q1 2024

Ede, June 25, 2024 – Dutch consumers spent over €9 billion online in the first quarter of 2024, marking a 3% increase compared to Q1 2023. However, the number of online purchases decreased by 3% to just over 85 million. Despite this, there was a notable increase in both the number of purchases and spending on international websites. This data comes from the latest Thuiswinkel Market Monitor, a study on online consumer purchases in the Netherlands, conducted by GfK on behalf of Thuiswinkel.org and Retail Insiders, in collaboration with PostNL and Betaalvereniging Nederland.

Significant Differences in Products and Services

Services saw growth in both online spending (+10%) and online purchases (+15%) (see Figure 1). Notably, spending on insurance increased by 34% compared to Q1 2023. Spending on tickets for attractions and events also rose by 23%, while spending on travel grew at a much slower rate (+0.3%).

Conversely, online spending on and purchases of products declined this year. The number of online product purchases has been decreasing for several years (see Figure 1). This quarter’s decline was mainly due to categories such as DIY/Garden (-20% compared to Q1 2023), Food/Nearfood (-12%), and Shoes and Personal Lifestyle (-9%). However, data shows that consumers are ordering more products per purchase, softening the decline in overall online spending.

Online Spending in China in Q1 Already One-Third of Total 2023

The proportion of cross-border buyers has increased over the years: in 2022, one in four online buyers occasionally shopped internationally, which has now risen to one in three. Online spending in China surged from €58 million in Q1 2023 to €102 million in Q1 2024 (see Figure 2). This increase is primarily due to higher spending on products in the Clothing, Home & Living, and Shoes and Personal Lifestyle categories. Dutch consumers who shop in China are more often women and families with young children.

Marlene ten Ham, General Director of Thuiswinkel.org, commented: “Over the past years, we’ve seen a significant rise in online spending on and purchases from China. We are advocating for a level playing field, as compliance with important regulations regarding unfair trade practices, customs rules, sustainability, privacy, and product safety is not always met. Consequently, these companies can offer lower prices, making it more attractive for consumers to shop there.”

Smartphone Usage Stabilizes, iDEAL Continues to Grow

Half of all online purchases are made via laptop or desktop. After years of growth, the share of purchases made via smartphones has stabilized at 35% in both Q1 2023 and Q1 2024. However, the share of spending via smartphones increased from 24% to 27% in Q1 2024. iDEAL remains the most used payment method, accounting for 61% of online spending, up two percentage points from Q1 last year. Cross-border, the share of iDEAL spending also rose from 41% to 45%, while credit card spending decreased significantly from 41% to 31%, and Klarna usage increased from 3% to 8%.

Consumers Expect to Spend More Online in the Coming Years, Including in China

In Q1 2024, 31% of all consumer spending was online. Based on consumer expectations, this percentage is projected to increase to 38% in the coming years (see Figure 3). This is according to the Thuiswinkel Future Monitor, also released today. More than half of consumers expect to order as much or more from Chinese webshops in the future. Additionally, consumers anticipate greater use of smartphones for online shopping. Marlene ten Ham stated: “It is no surprise that consumers expect to spend more online. The online market is growing, with more providers and a wider range of products available. Consumers primarily shop online for convenience, time savings, and a large assortment. The future will require both consumers and businesses to adopt more conscious consumption practices and rethink design, production, (re)use, and product lifespan.”

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