Consumers Worry About Local Retailers – eCommerce Magazine

  • As a new study by Bitkom shows, the majority of consumers are concerned about the future of stationary retail.
  • Every third online user orders since the corona pandemic more on the internet.
  • The return rate has been stable for years: Every eighth purchase in an online shop is returned.

As the study commissioned by Bitkom on trends in online shopping in the corona pandemic shows, customers sometimes feel uncomfortable when entering retail stores. 71 percent of German consumers say that other people are interested in Shopping in stores often do not adhere to distance and hygiene rules. And with 48 percent, almost every second respondent would like more options for contactless payment. At the same time, 66 percent of German consumers miss an online offering in their local shops. 79 percent are concerned that local retailers will not be able to cope economically with this year.

“In view of the difficult economic situation, people in Germany want to support their favorite shops in a targeted manner. This often does not succeed because many stationary retailers still do not have online offers for their customers, ”explains Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, General Manager of Bitkom. “The Corona-related restrictions must be a wake-up call for every retailer. As a retailer, you stand on two legs – on site and online – even in times of crisis, ”says Rohleder.

Online shopping
79 percent of German Internet users worry about the existence of local retailers. (Graphic: Bitkom)

83 percent of German consumers shop online

The number of users of online shopping is not only growing, people are also ordering significantly more online in the wake of the corona pandemic. A total of 96 percent of Internet users aged 16 and over shop online. This proportion is almost the same in all age groups: 96 percent of 16 to 29 year olds online, 97 percent of 30 to 49 year olds, 96 percent of 50 to 64 year olds and 93 percent of silver surfers, i.e. the generation 65 plus, shop on the Internet. Overall, the proportion of online shoppers in Germany corresponds to 83 percent of the population aged 16 and over, or 57 million people.

Online shopping
96 percent of German internet users used online shopping in 2020. (Graphic: Bitkom)

Many regularly go online shopping. 37 percent of online users buy goods or services online at least once a week, and four percent even do so on a daily basis. Asked to what extent your own shopping behavior since the corona pandemic has changed, more than one in three (36 percent) says that they have increasingly used online shopping since then. 13 percent say they shop “significantly more” on the Internet and 23 percent “a little more”. Shopping behavior will also change beyond the corona pandemic: 84 percent of those who have used more online shopping since the corona pandemic say that they want to continue doing so after the pandemic.

“Many people who now enjoy the advantages of online trading do not want to do without it in the future. Even with the Christmas business now starting, many consumers will not want to expose themselves to the crush in shopping centers and department stores. A large part of buying gifts will be relocated to the internet even more than in previous years. We expect a foretaste soon on Black Friday ”, Rohleder is convinced.

Online shopping: more convenience, a large selection and affordable prices

For every third online shopper (33 percent), one of the most important advantages is that when shopping online, the risk of contracting the corona virus is minimized. For a large part, however, play Comfort and convenience the biggest role: three quarters (74 percent) appreciate delivery directly to their home, almost as many (73 percent) appreciate the fact that they are not dependent on opening times. Time savings are decisive for 61 percent; six out of ten users of online shopping cite the wide range as an important advantage. Almost every second person (45 percent) is of the opinion that the prices in online shops are often cheaper.

In addition, online trading is now becoming increasingly popular, especially for people in rural areas Supply function a: 43 percent of online shoppers in places with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants say that there are no or only a few shops in their area and that they therefore shop on the Internet. Only eight percent of the big city dwellers cite this reason.

The top 10 most popular products in online shopping

Clothing, shoes and accessories are among the most popular products on the Internet: 92 percent of online shoppers state that they purchase these goods via the web. Electronic household appliances follow in second place with 81 percent, books and audio books in third place with 76 percent. Behind them are smartphones or cell phones with 73 percent and cosmetics, perfume and care products with 73 percent. In fifth place is furniture, which 71 percent of respondents buy online, followed by computers (70 percent).

69 percent of online shoppers order drugs online. 67 percent of the respondents also buy vouchers online, almost as many (66 percent) buy consumer electronics. 65 percent order DIY supplies such as screws, dowels and other hardware store material online. After all, 15 percent have even bought a car on the Internet and made the entire purchase there.

E-commerce trends
The top 5 of the most popular product groups in online shopping. (Graphic: Bitkom)

Smartphone is the second most important device for online shopping

When it comes to online shopping, the smartphone is now becoming the second most important device. 54 percent of online users (2019: 52 percent) shop by smartphone – in 2016 it was only 39 percent. Among the 16 to 29 year olds, the proportion is even 75 percent. The smartphone is currently still behind the laptop (59 percent), but ahead of the desktop PC (40 percent) and tablet computer (27 percent). Voice commerce via digital voice assistants such as Alexa or Google Home remains a niche phenomenon at two percent.

Online shopping
54 percent of German internet users use smartphones for online shopping. (Graphic: Bitkom)

Every eighth online order is returned

Returns are part of online shopping. Currently, every eighth online purchase (twelve percent) is returned on average. So that’s the Share of returns has remained almost unchanged over the past few years (2019: eleven percent; 2018: twelve percent, 2016: ten percent). Those under 30 send back almost every fifth parcel (19 percent). For 30 to 49 year olds it is 14 percent and for 50 to 64 year olds 9 percent. Seniors keep the majority of their shipments and only return every 20th order. Overall, 22 percent of online shoppers state that they sometimes or regularly order goods knowing that they will be sent back, for example when it comes to clothes in several sizes.

“Everyone has to do something to avoid returns and to handle unavoidable returns in an environmentally friendly way: the shop operators through the most authentic and meaningful product descriptions possible and the consumers through conscious shopping behavior,” says Bitkom Managing Director Dr. Bernhard Rohleder. 71 percent of online shoppers consciously bundle several orders in order to reduce delivery routes. 86 percent of online shoppers also believe that retailers should donate returned goods rather than destroy them.

“For retailers, returns mean lost sales and additional costs. If it is economical, returned items will be repackaged and re-listed. In places where re-use is not worthwhile for cost reasons, donations must be made more attractive for dealers. Today, donating a non-resalable non-food item is more expensive than destroying it, as such a donation is subject to sales tax. The sales tax for such donations must be abolished immediately ”, demands Rohleder.

Great potential for sustainable offers in online shopping

Overall, consumers are showing great interest in making online shopping more sustainable – although the actual use of such offers is still comparatively low. For example, eight percent use filters for sustainability when choosing products – more than one in two (53 percent) would do this in the future. A small surcharge for CO2 compensation for delivery is also an option for 38 percent of online users. However, only every twentieth person has used this opportunity.

E-commerce trends
76 percent of Internet users use or plan to use reusable packaging. (Graphic: Bitkom)

“With the help of digital technologies, we can avoid transport routes, reduce packaging materials and understand and ensure ecological and human rights standards in the supply chain,” emphasizes Rohleder. “Environmental protection and digitization are the determining issues of our time. We have to bring both of these together better in online retail in the future. ”

About the methodology of the study: The information is based on a representative survey that Bitkom Research carried out on behalf of Bitkom digital association from the end of October to the beginning of November 2020. 1,103 Internet users aged 16 and over, including 1,055 online shoppers, were surveyed. (sg)

Also read: How shopping behavior has changed due to the corona pandemic