April E-Commerce Forecast: total purchases keep momentum and ‘Online Loyal Shoppers’ continue further shift to e-commerce in April

AfterPay Insights’ monthly forecasts are back with this April outlook for e-commerce in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway. The latest survey results indicate that German consumers intend to increase their overall purchases, while Norwegian and Dutch consumers state they will continue to buy at the same level in April (compared to March). But how will they distribute their purchases with regards to online vs. offline channels?

In our previous forecasts we looked at consumers’ shopping intentions from the perspective of Light, Medium and Heavy Shoppers, i.e. shopping frequency. In this forecast we will look at consumers’ shopping intentions through a different lens: the distribution of spend. This leads us to identify three new consumer groups: ‘Offline Loyal Shoppers’ (0-25% of monthly spend is online), ‘Online Semi-Loyal Shoppers’ (26-74% of monthly spend is online) and ‘Online Loyal Shoppers’ (75-100% of monthly spend is online). 

These newly identified shopper groups come forth from our earlier research conclusions that e-commerce growth during the past year is driven by both new shoppers entering online as well as existing online shoppers becoming even more loyal to online channels. The increase in loyalty becomes especially clear when we look at the growth of the ‘Online Loyal Shoppers’ group: it almost doubles in size since September 2020 and grows from 20% to 34% of all consumers in the Netherlands, from 17% to 30% of all German consumers and from 12% to 19% of consumers in Norway. 

Looking forward to April, our results reveal significant differences in shopping intentions between the new loyalty groups. In this blog post we also take a closer look at the products that Dutch, German and Norwegian consumers intens to buy in April. Keep reading for a complete view on e-commerce in April.

How much do consumers intend to shop in April and through which channels?

Our projections are based on consumers’ intentions to increase and/or decrease purchase volumes in April, both on an overall level (on- and offline purchases) as well as for online purchases specifically. We look at the country totals and the three new loyalty groups: ‘Offline Loyal Shoppers’ (0-25% of monthly spend is online), ‘Online Loyal Shoppers’ (75-100% of monthly spend is online) and ‘Online Semi-Loyal Shoppers’ (26-74% of monthly spend is online).

The Netherlands

Dutch consumers project to buy at the same level overall in April as in March. They also state that they will continue to buy online at the same level as last month.

Below graph shows that Dutch Online Loyal Shoppers and Online Semi-Loyal Shoppers intend to change their behavior in April. Online Loyal Shoppers, who comprise 34% of Dutch shoppers in March, clearly state they will continue to shift even more purchases from offline to online. Dutch shoppers intend to distribute their spend across online and offline channels similarly to distribution in March. Dutch Online Semi-Loyal Shoppers (28% of Dutch consumers) are most positive to increasing overall purchases in April - of their expected purchase increase about 50% will be made online and 50% offline.

Germany

Germany sticks out as the only country where consumers state they will increase overall purchases in April. When it comes to online purchases consumers state they will buy at the same level as in March. Both German Online Loyal Shoppers (30% of German consumers) and Online Semi-Loyal Shoppers (34% of consumers), claim they will increase total purchases as well as online purchases in April. 50% of this increase will be conducted through online channels and the remaining 50% in brick-and-mortar stores.

Norway

Norwegian consumers, like Dutch consumers are likely to purchase on the same level as in March. But in Norway consumers are more hesitant towards online: they actually state that they intend to decrease e-commerce purchases. This attitude is even found among the Online Loyal Shoppers ( 19% of Norwegian consumers). But Norwegian Online Loyal Shoppers are positive towards increasing their overall purchase volumes in April.

Which products do consumers intend to buy in April?

Splitting expected purchases by product categories reveals which products Dutch, German and Norwegian consumers are likely to buy – both online and offline in April. This way we are able to forecast which product categories will likely grow online in the coming month, and which ones will likely grow offline. In doing so we can also predict a shift from online to offline channels – or vice versa – for specific product categories. And we can see which product categories will likely drive e-commerce in April. These are quite similar to the e-commerce forecast that we made for March.

The Netherlands: Fashion, Food and Health

In the Netherlands, we see that both online and offline purchases in roughly half of all product categories are expected to grow in April. Fashion is expected to grow most, followed by Food/Groceries and Health/Health food products. However, we see that - among the product categories in the top-right quadrant - the majority are positioned above the diagonal. This means that offline growth is likely larger than online growth for those categories. Looking at Fashion specifically, we expect growth to be about 50% online and 50% offline.

Germany: Fashion and Food

We also expect purchases in Fashion to grow most in April in Germany. Food/Groceries is the runner-up. And similar to the Netherlands, we expect growth for the categories that show an intended increase in April to be larger offline.

Norway: Fashion and Food

We see a different pattern in Norway compared to Germany and the Netherlands: Norwegian consumers are most positive towards increasing purchases within Food/Groceries in April, likely driven by brick-and-mortar as opposed to online purchases. Another significant difference between Norway and the Netherlands and Germany is that Fashion is the only category where we can expect a switch from offline purchases to online purchases in April – even though the total growth of Fashion is likely to be lower compared to that in the other countries.

What is next?

We will further analyze how the new loyalty groups shop online and how these groups correlate to the Light, Medium and Heavy Shopper segments. Stay tuned!