May E-commerce Forecast: how much will Dutch, German and Norwegian consumers shop online and what do they intend to buy?

AfterPay Insights’ monthly forecasts are back with this May outlook for e-commerce in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway. Do Dutch, German and Norwegian consumers intend to increase or decrease their shopping in May? What does this mean for e-commerce growth in May? And which categories can we expect to grow or decline from both the online and offline perspectives?

Our results show that consumers intend to increase their overall purchases in May. And compared to our earlier monthly projections, consumers’ intentions to do so are more positive in May. On the other hand we also see that the share of consumers who intend to increase online purchases reduces - the case in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway, validating the country specific developments as such. The reduced share of online also marks a change, as we previously saw that the share of online shoppers steadily increased and stayed stable over the past six months. And as we do not see consumer satisfaction reduce in April, we attribute this change in consumer behavior to the fact that societies are gradually opening up: consumers look forward to visiting brick-and-mortar stores more when they get the chance.

While the share of online shoppers may reduce, this does not necessarily lead to a decrease in online purchases: Heavy (5+ bi-weekly online purchases) and Medium Online Shoppers (2-4 bi-weekly online purchases) still intend to increase purchases in May.

At the same time Light Online Shoppers (1 bi-weekly online purchase) in Germany and the Netherlands state that they intend to decrease online purchases in May. As we uncover in our earlier blog about Shopping Frequency versus Loyalty, this segment is most likely to shift back to offline channels when they get the chance: they were pushed to online channels by pandemic circumstances and as a result are not yet fully convinced on the convenience of online shopping.

Light Online Shoppers’ increasing shift to offline channels is also the result of a shift in product-mix. Where we previously saw consumers continuously increase purchases in Food and Household Goods, we now see that the focus for those products shifts more towards offline channels, another sign that consumers expect society to further open up in May. At the other end of the spectrum, we see that Fashion – as always – sets the pace for consumers’ increased online shopping. In the Netherlands, Germany and Norway, Travel/Transport and Tickets noticeably show a gradual recovery and we expect these to shift more towards the upper right quadrant in the months leading up to summer. Curious for further in-depth insights into how Dutch, german and Norwegian Shoppers intend to shop in May? Keep reading!

E-commerce in The Netherlands in May

Our latest survey results indicate that the average Dutch consumer intends to buy slightly more overall in May, but is likely to decrease online purchases. When we take online purchase frequency into account, we see that Heavy- and Medium Online Shoppers intend to iincrease online purchases in May. And since these two segments combined comprise 56% of consumers and 91% of all online purchases in April, the number of online purchases is likely to continue growing in May.



When it comes to product categories in the Netherlands, we see that Fashion dominates e-commerce from an absolute numbers perspective. Based on consumers’ projections, Fashion will lift both offline and online purchases in May. Other categories will have a minimal impact on May purchase growth. Earlier in 2021 (Q1), Food and Groceries supports Fashion in the overall online growth in the Netherlands, but consumers’ purchase intentions are clearly more intended for brick-and-mortar stores in May.

E-commerce in Germany in May

Just like in the Netherlands, the average German consumer intends to buy more overall while at the same time decrease online purchases in May. Looking at online purchase frequency, we see some different patterns over time. German Heavy Online Shoppers have become significantly less positive to increase online purchases in May. And since German Heavy Online Shoppers make up 15% of German consumers and make 41% of all online purchases in April, it is not certain that online purchases will increase in Germany in May. 



Looking at product categories in German e-commerce in May, we see that Food & Groceries are expected to grow on par with Fashion. These two categories will drive overall German shopping in May. But the difference is that Fashion is likely to continue growing online, while German consumers intend to switch Food & Groceries purchases back to physical stores – if and when they get the chance.

E-commerce in Norway in May

The average Norwegian consumer states that they are likely to buy slightly more overall, while they intend to decrease online purchases in May. Looking at Norwegian consumers’ shopping intentions through the ‘shopping frequency’ lens, we clearly see that Norwegian Heavy Online Shoppers, who comprise 10% of Norwegian consumers but conduct 39% of all online purchases, are most positive towards increasing online purchases. At the same time, Medium Online Shoppers in Norway say they may decrease online purchases in May – as this segment stands for 50% of all Norwegian online purchases in April, online purchases may not increase in Norway in May.



According to Norwegian consumers, Food & Groceries and Fashion will drive Norwegian consumer purchases in May, although Fashion will likely lead. Travel/Transport and Tickets noticeably show a gradual recovery and we expect these to shift more towards the upper right quadrant in the coming months.

What is next?

Coming up next is an analysis of the inflow into online channels in April: do merchants succeed in attracting new consumers? Stay tuned!