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E-shopper barometer 2016

DPDgroup reveals changing online shopping habits of Europeans


DPDgroup shines light on the rapidly changing landscape of online shopping in Europe in a new E-Shopper Barometer report.

In the first and most extensive report to focus on online shopping trends in Europe, Kantar TNS interviewed 23,450 participants across 21 countries*. The survey highlights micro trends including the most surprising online purchases as well as and preferred payment methods from the UK to Estonia. It also unearths macro trends such as the rapid growth of mobile shopping in countries with lower internet penetration, the increasing preference for e-shopping abroad, and the importance of transparency and flexibility offered in deliveries and returns.


“Our report highlights the main e-commerce trends in Europe and provides a good overview of e-shoppers’ online behaviours, bearing in mind that these vary from country to country. Cross-border shopping is however popular across the region, with more than two thirds of those who purchase abroad doing so in other European countries. There’s also room for growth in coming years as a significant number of Europeans who have not yet purchased on foreign websites intend to do so.”

Jean-Claude Sonet, Marketing, Communication and CSR Director, DPDgroup


  • Most online purchases are still made by laptop or desktop PC. Orders made by smartphone (35 %) are growing, however, and 42 % of those surveyed said that they consider a mobile friendly website an essential factor in making purchases.


  • Digital wallets (e.g. PayPal) still outstrip credit cards as the preferred means of payment online (42 to 35 %), even in many Western European countries, while cash-on-delivery is most popular in the Eastern Bloc, highlighting the importance of trust when making purchases.


  • Home is still the preferred point of delivery for most (84 % of participants), but many are considering alternatives such as parcel delivery lockers or post offices, underlining the need for seamless delivery options that fit shoppers’ lifestyles.


  • Flexibility is key – most e-shoppers say next day delivery, realtime tracking and the option to reschedule are more likely to make them purchase from a specific retailer over other delivery options including weekend or evening deliveries. Nearly half of e-shoppers also rely on delivery time notifications provided by the courier.
  • Heavy buyers,  account for 85 % of declared online purchases in Europe, meaning attracting repeat customers is now more important than ever for e-tailers. Flexible and reliable delivery options will be crucial in encouraging occasional buyers to purchase more frequently.


  • Internet penetration does not correlate with the average number of online purchases made each year; just 44 % of e-shoppers in the Netherlands (94 % population online) buy online once per month or more, compared to 52 % of Italians (just 66 % of population online).


  • Fashion, books, electronics, beauty and health products remain most popular across Europe, with some startling local variations. The UK is far ahead in %age of food purchases made online, while German shoppers are the most comfortable ordering medicine from websites.       
  • More than half of e-shoppers (52%) have made a purchase from a foreign website before, although an analysis of latest online purchases shows that only 17% were made on foreign websites, suggesting significant room for growth.
  • Fashion, electronics and books the most popular products types.
  • Western European countries favour geographic proximity for purchases on foreign websites – a third of e-shoppers buy on sites located in neighbouring markets.
  • Eastern European countries are likely to experience growth here, with 61% of Polish participants and 46% of Romanians indicating they are considering shipping abroad in future.
  • Shoppers need the cross-border experience to improve, particularly delivery and the returns process, as foreign websites do not always take into account specific local requirements or delivery networks. 


  • Full_report_e-shopper_barometer (3.32 MB)
  • European_e-shoppers_profiles (268.40 kB)
  • Cross_border (867.83 kB)
  • Customer_experience (435.03 kB)
  • Delivery_preferences (380.29 kB)
  • Products_category (472.38 kB)
  • Brochure_e-shopper_barometer (673.85 kB)

* The 2016 edition of the DPDGroup E-Shopper Barometer Report was conducted Kantar TNS between 19 September and 7 October 2016. Blind interviews took place online among 23,450 participants across 21 countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, UK.

All participants were aged 18 or over, and had placed at least one order for physical goods online since January 2016.