E-commerce growth swings back in the first half of September, but growth is expected to reduce as consumers say they will buy less online next month

We have added new research data for the first half of September. Our research now contains responses from more than 40.000 consumers in The Netherlands, Germany and Norway over a period of almost six months. Overall, the long-term online purchase development trend shows three distinct phases that are very similar across all three countries.

In the first development phase, in mid-March, we see a boom in e-commerce purchases that peaks towards the first half of May. Consumers being locked down at home, in combination with reduced access to restaurants and stores are the key drivers for this growth. In this phase consumers also show barriers to purchase online: primarily the fear of picking up the virus from packages. However, these barriers do not significantly impact overall e-commerce growth.

In the second development phase, during June and July, e-commerce growth dampens. The key drivers for purchasing online also change during this period. Convenience and good prices grow as a key motivator. And the fact that consumers are locked down reduces in importance for making more online purchases. A characteristic barrier to purchase more online emerges during this period: some consumers make less e-commerce purchases because they want to support local physical stores.

In the third development phase, in August, online purchases dampen as consumers go into vacation mode. In Norway, purchases bottom out during the first half of August. In The Netherlands and Germany, e-commerce purchases hit a low during the second half of August. However, online purchases pick up again in all three countries during the first half of September. However, the share of consumers who state that they will make more online purchases in the month to come also decreases in the first half of September. And this trend is the same for all three countries. This means that e-commerce growth will likely reduce again in the second half of September- possibly a counter reaction to consumers increased online shopping coming out of summer.

What is next?

We will continue to monitor developments throughout autumn, and will present a high season forecast very soon. Stay tuned!