AfterPay Insights’ monthly forecasts are back with this August outlook for e-commerce in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway. Do Dutch, German and Norwegian consumers intend to increase or decrease their online shopping in August? And which categories can we expect to grow or decline?
Our results show that consumers in all three countries intend to buy overall at a similar level in August as they did in July. At the same time, consumers intend to decrease online purchases, shifting some of their purchases from online channels to brick-and-mortar stores. We see the same pattern develop as in 2020: online purchases bottom out in August. A clear seasonal effect, which is confirmed by its reoccurrence in 2021.
When we look at shopping frequency and its effect on consumers’ shopping intentions, we see that infrequent and Light Online Shoppers (0-2 online purchases per month) intend to decrease online purchases in August, while Medium and Heavy Online Shoppers (4+ online purchases per month) intend to increase online purchases. Even though Heavy Online Shoppers stand for a disproportionally high share of online purchases, the relatively small size of this segment does not give it enough weight to compensate Light Online Shoppers’ decreased purchase intentions. Looking at the full market – and trusting that consumers will act on their intentions – this again confirms that online purchases in August will likely decrease.
Looking at consumers’ choice of product mix in August, we see Fashion – as always – as the locomotive of increased online shopping. But we also see consumers’ August projections for buying Travel/Transport increase significantly. Compared to one month ago, Travel/Transport is the category that shows the biggest increase in consumers’ purchase intentions, with Tickets coming in second place.
We see that online purchase volumes decline in July in the Netherlands and Germany with a small increase in Norway. This is a continuation of developments that we identify at the end of June. A similar trend is visible in June and July of 2020 (but then coming from a May peak in online purchases caused by the first pandemic waves that spread across Europe).
Comparing July of 2020 to July of 2021, we see that purchase volumes in the Netherlands are lower in July 2021 (+23%, compared to +32% in July 2020). In Germany volumes are higher this July (+22%) than in July 2020 (+14%). And in Norway volumes are about the same (+23% this July compared to +20% July 2020). But as noted, online purchase volumes in the spring of 2020 were significantly boosted by pandemic restrictions.
While online shopping volumes, after a peak in December 2020, decline from January to July of 2021, the online share of total spend stays at the same level or even increases for Heavy (10+ online purchases per month) and Medium (4-8 online purchases per month) Online Shoppers. We can expect the ‘online loyalization’ of these frequent online shoppers to have a positive long-term impact on e-commerce growth in the months to come. But this is not the case for Light Online Shoppers of whom many have switched back to brick-and-mortar shopping as societies have opened up again after lifting intense pandemic restrictions.
Our latest survey results indicate that the average Dutch consumer intends to buy at the same level overall in August, but is likely to decrease online purchases. However, when we take online purchase frequency into account, we see that Heavy Shoppers intend to increase online purchases in August. Even though Heavy Online Shoppers conduct a disproportionally large share of all online purchases, the segment is not large enough to compensate for the reduced shopping intentions of other segments in the Netherlands.
When it comes to product categories in the Netherlands, we see that Fashion dominates e-commerce from a numbers perspective. Based on consumers’ projections, Fashion will uphold both offline and online purchases in August.
Just like in the Netherlands, the average German consumer intends to buy at the same level overall in August, but is likely to decrease online purchases. However, when we take online purchase frequency into account, we see that Heavy Online Shoppers intend to increase online purchases in August. While this segment conducts disproportionally large share of all online purchases, it is not large enough to compensate for the reduced shopping intentions of other segments in the Germany.
In Germany, we see that Fashion and Food/Groceries will uplift e-commerce purchases in August, while Fashion is expected to grow stronger online compared to Food/Groceries in August.
Similarly, Norwegian consumers also intend to buy at a similar overall level in August, although they are likely to decrease online purchases. While Heavy Online Shoppers intend to increase online purchases in August, the segment’s impact is not large enough to compensate for the reduced shopping intentions of other shopper segments.
In Norway, Travel/Transport replaces typical front runner Fashion as the category where Norwegians intend to increase purchases the most in August; the origin of Travel/Transport’s growth can be split equally between online and offline channels.
Coming up next is a long-awaited deep dive into online Fashion. What are Fashion Shoppers’ demands of merchants? And how satisfied are they? What are Fashion Shoppers’ views on the future of e-commerce? Stay tuned to find out!