Online Shopping Prevalence Expected to Rise in 2017
Enlarge image (© Colourbox) ‘Tis the season for family gatherings, hardy meals, and gift giving. Gift giving these days, however, has taken to a new forum. From the outside looking in, it may look like Germans are buying gifts at the long-popular and abundant Christmas markets or from large shopping malls. However, with the ever increasing digitization of basic tasks from banking to groceries has come a growing popularity of online shopping in Germany.
Online shopping has been a staple of commerce in the United States since the presence of personal laptops, but Germany has been later on the curve of digitization. Two likely influences on this brief hesitation to make purchases online are the lack of universal and free WiFi and privacy concerns regarding online purchases.
Updating and Expanding Networks
Nationwide high speed internet and loosening concerns about privacy online have helped the cause of online retailers. Updating broadband networks has been a goal of the Federal Government since 2014 when the Federal Parliament launched a coalition proposal entitled “Modern Networks for a Modern Nation—Fast Internet For All.” Many cities have since experienced an expansion of WiFi access to train stations and into homes in more rural areas, with the ultimate goal to have everyone in Germany be able to surf the internet at speeds of at least 50 Mbits per second by 2018.
The rise of the role of the internet in everyday transactions and socializing has been a topic of public debate in Germany as well. Privacy concerns prompted by the rise of fake profiles and news, commercial data collection on social media platforms, and identity theft, have led to a national hesitancy on sharing personal information online. Despite this, trust in online retailers is building. More Germans are showing through their purchases that they are willing to trust both domestic and foreign online retailers. Seven in ten respondents to a survey by Bitcom done this year stated that they had made purchases from abroad in the survey period.
Gadgets Spark the Rise in E-Commerce
According to the Federal Association for Information Technology, German consumers spent an average of $1,338 on online purchases this year. Of those who were polled from shoppers thirteen years of age and older, one in six spent more than 2,500 euros on online orders this year. Ninety-six percent of shoppers had bought something online within the previous 12 months, 15 percent of which had done so in the last month and 5 percent on a daily basis.
The most popular items bought online were gadgets. Best sellers included smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and fitness trackers. Buying these high-sticker price items can save consumers by procuring them from the countries in which those products are manufactured, as well as through online portals which make it easier to compare prices and find discounts.
Managing director of the Federal Association for Information Technology says he expects the trend to continue and for there to be an increase in e-commerce throughout 2017.