Current trends in e-Commerce

Current trends in e-Commerce. Opportunities in Belgium.
Source: OGZ

Research report 'e-Commerce' in Belgium (Comeos, 2012)

  • Comeos represents Belgian businesses and services. The members of Comeos are active in 18 sectors and sell either to companies (B2B) or directly to consumers (B2C). Together they account for 11.2 % of the GNP and employ 400,000 people, making them the biggest employer in the private sector. Comeos provides custom services for its members and wants to encourage dynamic businesses as a knowledge and networking platform.
  • Goal of this research report: to get more insights in Belgium’s e-commerce market and to generate PR-input.
  • Questions:
  1. What is the online buyer’s profile?
  2. Which products are bought online?
  3. Which sectors have the highest potential?

1. E-commerce experience


2. Current online shopping behavior

  • As 1 in 5 online buyers did his/her first online purchase in the past 12 months, there is a high inflow of new online buy ers.
  • Younger people, women, and people with a lower income have had a first e-commerce expercience in the last two years more often than the other groups.
  • 1 in 6 online buyers buys online every month. Half of them buys online every 3 to 6 months.
  • 1 in 3 bought online for more than € 150 last month.
  • E-commerce in Belgium is obviously expanding. 3 out of 10 online buyers already spend more than 1 year ago. This evolution was already going on last year and is not in- or decreasing.
  • People who are strongly represented amongst online buyers are also the ones who spend more than one year ago.
  • While e-commerce purchases were mainly new purchases last year, we now see an equal spread between new and replacement purchases.
  • Especially for people with lower and intermediate incomes and people who shop online less often than monthly, online purchases are new purchases.

3. Online purchases

  • Top 5 consists of  hotels / fashion, event / transport tickets and books .The products in this top 5 are the same as last year. They have all increased in importance.
  • The majority of products is bought online more often than in 2011. For fun fair tickets, sports products and digital films/series, we see a small decrease.
  • Digital music, nutrition and digital films/series are bought most frequently.
  • Clothing /shoes, books and CD/DVD/Blu-ray are real volume generators (more information), while telecom, digital music and supermarket food are more niche markets.
  • Top 5 consists of the same products as last year. The intention to buy is higher for all of the top 5 products/services, as it is for most products/services.
  • Tickets, hotels, books 
    and electronics are already 
    bought on a regular base and 
    are expected to be bought 
    even more in the future. On 
    the other hand, digital music/
    films/series, sports products 
    and household appliances are 
    not that popular yet, but are 
    expected to be bought more in 
    the future, making them high 

  • An online buyer stays an online buyer.The intention to buy online again is very strong and has increased compared to 1 year ago. 98 % of online consumers expects to keep buying online in the future.
  • 1 in 5 online buyers keeps on looking for information offline (especially for vehicles, DIY and furniture/household products). The most important source of information is online. For vehicles, resto/catering, telecom and decoration, this source has gained in importance.

4. Sector focus

  •  The largest amounts are spent in the electro, interior and/or do-it-yourself sector.  Online shoppers spend the least on books and the entertainment sector.
  • The main driver for e-commerce is the time saving aspect, which is prominent for online purchases in the food sector. Websites in the toys sector have the highest scores on satisfaction, whereas telecom and sport websites score the lowest on likeability. 2 out of 5 online shoppers prefer home delivery, the minority is willing to pay for fl exible delivery timings.

5. E-Commerce trust

  • In general, online shoppers are rather reserved when it comes to buying products from other internet users or on unknown websites.
  • 1 in 2 online shoppers has a preference for Belgian websites, 30% perceives foreign websites as less reliable. 78% believes an offline shop increases website reliability.
  • Shoppers trust e-commerce activities more than they did in the past, which results in an increase in the amount and the variety of products bought online. Barriers towards online payment with a credit card and purchase on unknown websites are less present.


6. Internet fraud

  • The occurrence of internet fraud  is very limited. 4% has experienced some kind of deception during online shopping. In half of those cases, deception was caused by payment issues.
  • The majority of internet fraud cases are handled and solved by the bank. However, in 29% of the cases it remains unsolved.


Source / read more: