In 2020, Belgians bought around 30% more physical products from web shops. However, the trade in services finally collapsed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that e-commerce turnover fell by 10% last year to €10.3 billion. This was announced by BeCommerce, the Belgian interest groups for remote sellers. It just presented its BeCommerce Market Monitor, a survey conducted by GfK with the support of PostNL and the National Lottery.
Sales of products grow by a third
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the e-commerce sector in Belgium. The acceleration of product sales online has given a huge boost to product sales online. Belgians all bought no less than a third more compared to the same period last year. This amounts to a total of €7.5 billion in products online. The main growing categories are consumer electronics (up 93%), household electronics (up 92%) and computer accessories (up 66%).
“2020 was the year that Belgians got to know e-commerce for good,” says Sofie Geeroms, Managing Director of BeCommerce. “200,000 people first found their way to a web store in the corona year, which is an increase of 2%. The Belgian has been able to discover the convenience of home delivery – also for heavy household products, for example – as a result of the corona crisis. Because consumer safety must come first, we hope to guide consumers with the quality mark to reliable web shops with excellent customer service. ”
Service sector suffers during COVID-19
Sales within the services sector, on the other hand, more than halved compared to 2019. Where in 2019 €6.2 billion was spent in the services sector, in 2020 this fell to €2.8 billion. The largest expenditure items in the services sector in recent years – air travel and accommodation, tickets to attractions and events and package travel – are therefore among the sectors most affected by COVID-19.
Belgian consumers spent an average of €1193 online
Due to COVID-19 and its various lockdowns, the Belgian bought online more often in the past year than in the previous year. However, the amount spent per purchase is significantly lower than last year. This is evident from the Market Monitor. On average, Belgians bought online approximately 15 times, representing a total of 126.8 million online purchases or an increase of 12% compared to the same period last year. Where the average purchase last year still cost €102, this year it dropped to €81.
“We can also find the cause of the lower amounts spent online in that two-speed e-commerce,” says Sofie Geeroms. “Normally, the consumer spends the highest amounts in the service sector. Just think of travel, plane tickets, events and festivals that often cost more than the products you buy online. This trend is therefore very temporary until the travel and events sector can restart. ”
Bancontact the most popular payment method
Bancontact online also remains the most used payment method online in the fourth quarter. 45% of the purchases were made via this route. In the second place is the credit card that was used for a quarter of the online purchases. The figures show that the payment method is mainly related to the amount that must be paid and therefore not to the device on which the purchase is made. The credit card (€101) and transfers (€104) are used noticeably more often for higher amounts than Bancontact (€73).
Using smartphones for online purchases
In the past year, the smartphone again gained popularity for online purchases. One in three purchases happened with the smarphone in the past year. Nevertheless, the laptop remains the device of choice for making online purchases. With 45% of online purchases, the device remains the most commonly used payment method online. In addition, the laptop is used for purchases of higher amounts than the smartphone. Whereas the average amount with the laptop was €88. For smartphone this was only €56.