Dutch e-commerce purchases +7% with a significant increase in products for home improvement

Dutch e-commerce purchases +7% with a significant increase in products for home improvement

Read this post in Dutch. 

AfterPay Insights research amongst 1,111 consumers in The Netherlands shows that in the past two weeks Dutch consumers’ behavior is not severely impacted by financial worries. E-commerce purchases have increased by 7%, particularly in Groceries, Health Foods, Sporting Goods and Hardware and Building Materials.

The corona outbreak has apparently not kept Dutch consumers from shopping online for home improvements. In fact, this only seems to become more important since people are spending more time at home. In light of the increase in Sporting Goods and Health Foods, the conclusion is that Dutch consumers place importance on staying active and healthy during the lockdown.

When Dutch consumers look ahead to the coming month, 28% say they will increase their number of e-commerce purchases, with a higher demand on merchants providing a wider range of products and more reliable/fast delivery.

Which consumers in The Netherlands have changed their behavior? 

In The Netherlands, younger people (aged 18-24) have decreased their online purchases while those aged 25-44 have purchased more online. People (aged 45+) have continued to make the same number of e-commerce purchases.  

The data shows a clear difference between women and men when it comes to the amount of online purchases. Women have increased their number of online purchases, with full-time employed women showing the highest increase in numbers of e-commerce purchases. Men have not changed their behavior to the same extent.  

Looking at household income, those with a lower income have purchased less, and those with higher income have purchased more than what they did before the corona outbreak. Households with kids, and those living in urban areas, have also increased their online purchases.  

Why are Dutch consumers changing their behavior? 

Just like their fellow Europeans in Germany and Norway, the main driver for Dutch consumers to increase e-commerce purchases is to avoid meeting other people in physical stores. As consumers are spending more time at home these days, the second most important driver to order online is convenience. A third driver is that shops and restaurants are closed or have limited stock.  

Lower prices online, the difficulty to access physical stores due to reduced public transport or a changing need of products/services when spending more time at home do not seem to influence Dutch consumers’ online shopping behavior as much.  

Dutch consumers who show a decline in number of e-commerce purchases often do so because they are worried about getting contaminated by packages or they want to support local shops. Some consumers are also concerned that orders will be delayed or maybe not delivered at all. 

How have Dutch consumers’ worries impacted e-commerce? 

In The Netherlands, consumers who indicate a decrease in their number of online purchases do so partly due to financial reasons. Defining for these consumers is that they not only buy less online, but are shopping less in general.  

An aspect that sticks out more predominantly in The Netherlands compared to other countries is that the Dutch are generally more concerned about the economic situation in society than their personal financial situation. 

Dutch consumers who are most worried about the corona outbreak have either reduced or increased their number of online purchases. Those who are less worried are largely unaffected in their e-commerce behavior.  

Worried consumers who are shopping less, are mainly driven by a worry about their health and financial situation. And those who are worried and shopping more, are primarily worried about their own personal health.  

Which products have Dutch consumers bought more or less since before the corona outbreak? 

In The Netherlands, the category that has increased the most compared to before the corona outbreak is Food & Groceries, Hardware & Building Materials, Sporting Goods and Health & Health Food Products. In line with other countries, Dutch consumers have also purchased less Tickets, Travel and Transportation, Fashion and Beauty/Cosmetics since the corona outbreak. 

Notable in the Netherlands is that Hardware & Building materials purchases have boomed. Apparently, Dutch consumers are taking this time to focus on home improvements.  

Which products will Dutch consumers buy more or less in the coming month?  

Purchases within Food and Groceries, Health and Health Food products and Take away food have increased significantly since the corona outbreak. According to AfterPay Insights’ consumer projections, these categories will continue to increase in the coming month. 

In line with the research results in Germany and Norway, online purchases in The Netherlands within Travel and transportation and Tickets have displayed a significant decrease since the Corona outbreak, and consumers intend to continue consuming even less in these categories in the coming month. 


What’s also interesting is the increase in online purchases in the Netherlands for the categories Hardware and building materials, Home decorations & furniture, Sporting goods, Kitchen appliances and Gardening tools. But consumers’ future projections of purchases within in these categories are pointing towards a decline. The Netherlands online purchases in Pet Food/Supplies – the vertical increased since the corona outbreak and consumers intend to increase even further in the coming month.  

Just like in Germany and Norway, online purchases in The Netherlands for Cosmetics & Beauty and Fashion experienced a dip in purchases since the corona outbreak. But this looks like a temporary decline since consumers intend buy more in these categories in the month to come. 

Will Dutch consumers will buy more or less in the coming month? 

Nearly half of all Dutch consumers claim they will continue to purchase online to the same extent in the coming month. 28% of consumers say they will buy more while around 16% say they will buy less. The remaining 7% are unsure about their future purchases.  

Consumers who have decreased their online purchases in the past will buy even less in the coming month. And Dutch consumers that have increased their online purchases since the corona outbreak claim they will increase their purchases even further in the month to come. 

A majority of consumers that up to this point have displayed unchanged purchase behavior; claim that they will not change their e-commerce shopping behavior in the future. Within this group, the group of consumers that claim they will increase their purchases in the coming month is significantly larger than the group that claim they will decrease their purchases. 

Are Dutch consumers’ expectations of merchants changing?  

Currently, the most important factor in choosing a webshop is familiarity. Dutch consumers are more likely to choose a webshop is if they have purchased there before, aside from an increase or decrease in their online shopping. 

Perceiving a webshop as secure is the second most important aspect. This goes hand in hand with having a previous experience with the webshop. Consumers in The Netherlands also think lowest price is important, but this is not as important as familiarity and security. Consumers are not influenced by the fact that a webshop is well-known. These demands seem to be stable for all Dutch consumers, and are not dependent on changes in number of online purchases since the corona outbreak. 

Dutch consumers who intend to increase their online purchases in the coming month - 28% of Dutch consumers - demand even more from webshops when it comes to wide range of products, reliable delivery, and display of in-stock information. 

Demands that are also important for these consumers (considerably less, but consistent in The Netherlands, Germany and Norway) are flexible delivery options and flexible return options. Even though these needs are smaller, the demands do play a role in consumers’ webshop selection.  

What's next?

Coming days, we will dive deeper in the German and Norwegian shoppers' behaviors. We are also preparing for a deep dive into how consumers worry might impact their shopping. And we have an expert interview coming up. Stay tuned.