Online purchases fall back in January but consumers continue to shift more spend to online


We have now added new research data covering the month of January to our research, meaning our data now comprise more than 72.000 interviews with consumers in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway spanning almost one year. 

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, we see an initial peak in the number of online purchases in April/May (during the ‘first wave’). Online purchases at this point are up +50% in the Netherlands, +37% in Germany and +30% in Norway. In August, during the summer holiday period, purchases bottom out in all three countries. After that we see a strong post-vacation recovery heading into a dramatic peak season growth. In December, online purchases increase to +88% in the Netherlands, +57% in Germany and +86% in Norway (compared to pre-corona purchase levels).

As might be expected, online purchases slow down significantly in January. However, we see that consumers’ online spend (compared to offline spend) continues to increase in all three countries in January – a trend that is visible since September 2020.

In the Netherlands, 39% of total consumer spend is conducted online in September and this increases to 50% in January. In Germany, the online share of spend increases from 42% in September to 48% in January. And Norwegian consumers' share of spend online grows from 31% in September to 37% in January. Key drivers for this trend are – without a doubt – the closure of physical stores combined with the overall organic and long-term growth trend of online channels.

What is next?

Next week we will publish an analysis of how product categories have developed in 2020, with a special focus on Fashion. Stay tuned!