CONSUMERS ATTITUDES TOWARDS CROSS- BORDER TRADE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

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1 Eurobarometer CONSUMERS ATTITUDES TOWARDS CROSS- BORDER TRADE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION REPORT Fieldwork: September 2011 Publication: May 2012 This survey has been requested by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and co-ordinated by Directorate-General for Communication. This document does not represent the point of view of the European Commission. The interpretations and opinions contained in it are solely those of the authors. Eurobarometer - TNS Political & Social

2 FLASH Eurobarometer Consumers attitudes towards cross-border trade and consumer protection Conducted by TNS Political & Social at the request of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Consumers Survey co-ordinated by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM Research and Speechwriting Unit)

3 FLASH TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION... 4 MAIN RESULTS DISTANCE SHOPPING AND CROSS-BORDER PURCHASES Distance purchases by channel Distance shopping via the Internet Distance shopping by telephone Distance shopping by post Overall levels of distance shopping Monetary value of domestic and cross-border distance purchases Value of domestic distance purchases Value of cross-border distance purchases in the EU Value of cross-border distance purchases outside the EU Cross-border purchases while travelling Cross-border purchases while on holiday or on a shopping or business trip CONSUMER CONFIDENCE AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS SHOPPING DOMESTICALLY AND CROSS-BORDER Levels of confidence in domestic and cross-border distance purchases Outlook for cross-border shopping in the EU KNOWLEDGE OF CONSUMER LEGISLATION Cooling-off period in distance selling Length of guarantee validity rights Unfair commercial practices receiving unordered products Overall levels of knowledge

4 FLASH 4. CONSUMER PROTECTION Problems and complaints regarding domestic purchases Problems with the delivery of distance purchases Unfair commercial practices CONSUMER PROTECTION INDICATORS Consumer protection measures Dispute resolution The role of media PRODUCT SAFETY ENVIRONMENT Perceptions of the safety of food and non-food products Experiences of product recall ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND PURCHASING DECISIONS ANNEXES Technical specifications Questionnaire Tables 3

5 FLASH INTRODUCTION This report presents the results of the Eurobarometer survey Cross-border trade and consumer protection, carried out in September This present survey follows on from a series of consumer protection-related surveys that have been conducted since 2006 by the European Commission, DG SANCO (Special Eurobarometer No 252, 2006, Special Eurobarometer No 298, 2008, Eurobarometer No 282, 2009 and Eurobarometer No, 2010) 1. The European Commission aims at improving the business and consumer environment by deepening the single market and enforcing single market and competition rules. Examining consumer conditions across the Member States is fundamental to this end: the Member States and the EU must ensure that goods and services markets are wellfunctioning, open and competitive and that empowered consumers make informed consumer choices in these markets. The overall objectives are set out in the Consumer Protection Strategy for : to empower consumers, to enhance their welfare, and to protect them effectively. In order to build a knowledge base to support policy-making and the development of regulations, the Commission regularly gathers evidence by monitoring markets and national consumer conditions and by studying consumer behaviour through several research tools. The results are compiled twice a year into the Consumer Markets Scoreboard 3 that shows which markets are malfunctioning and do not meet consumer expectations. It monitors market performance from the perspective of economic and social outcomes for consumers. This survey looks at the conditions of EU consumers as reported by consumers themselves in the following areas: Cross-border commerce E-commerce and other distance shopping Consumer problems and complaints Dispute resolution Consumer empowerment in terms of objective knowledge of legislation Consumer perceptions of consumer protection Unfair commercial practices Product safety environment Environmental concerns 1 All reports can be found at All editions of the Scoreboard can be found at 4

6 FLASH This Eurobarometer was carried out by TNS Political & Social. It was conducted in the 27 EU Member States and Norway and Iceland. The interviews were carried out by telephone (fixed-line and mobile phone) between 19 and 21 September ************** The Eurobarometer web site can be consulted at the following address: We would like to take the opportunity to thank all the respondents across the continent who gave their time to take part in this survey. Without their active participation, this study would simply not have been possible. 5

7 FLASH Note ABREVIATIONS EU27 EU15 EU12 European Union - 27 Member States The fifteen Member States that were EU Members prior to the accession of ten candidate countries on 1 May 2004 The twelve Member States that joined the European Union in recent years (2004 and 2007) BE BG CZ DK DE EE IE EL ES FR IT CY LV LT LU HU MT NL AT PL PT RO SI SK FI SE UK IS NO Belgium Bulgaria Czech Republic Denmark Germany Estonia Ireland Greece Spain France Italy Republic of Cyprus Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Hungary Malta The Netherlands Austria Poland Portugal Romania Slovenia Slovakia Finland Sweden United Kingdom Iceland Norway 6

8 FLASH MAIN RESULTS Distance shopping and cross-border purchases Distance shopping via the Internet is growing across the EU In the past 12 months, nearly half of EU consumers made a distance purchase over the Internet (46%), 20% by post and 13% by phone. Distance commerce remains largely domestic: 53% of the consumers made a distance purchase from local sellers/providers while only 12% made a distance purchase from another EU country. At the EU level, there has been a considerable rise in the proportion of consumers shopping over the Internet: up from 37% in 2010 to 46% in 2011 (+9 points). This growth has been even more pronounced in the period since 2006, with an increase from 27% to 46% (+ 19 points). This trend is observed across all Member States, but is strongest in Slovakia (43%, +37 points since 2006), Poland (47%, +29), the Czech Republic (52%, +28) and Cyprus (34%, +28). EU consumers are significantly more likely to purchase online from local sellers and providers (42%) than from those in other EU countries (10%). The opposite is true for Luxembourg (44% cross-border vs. 13% domestic), Malta (35% vs. 6%), Cyprus (24% vs. 6%), Ireland (36% vs. 29%) and Austria (34% vs. 32%). The level of cross-border online shopping in the EU has increased from 6% in 2006 to 10% in The proportion of consumers purchasing online from sellers outside the EU has also increased from 3% in 2006 to 6% in the present survey. However, it appears that a larger number of EU consumers still make their crossborder purchases face-to-face: 25% of consumers made a purchase while on holiday or on a business trip. Home Internet access increases the likelihood of online shopping both domestically and cross-border 56% of consumers who have Internet access at home have made an online purchase (compared to 50% in 2010, 54% in 2009 and 56% in 2008), a figure that is 10 points higher than the result for all respondents. 51% of consumers who have Internet access at home have used the Internet to buy goods or services from a seller/provider from their own country, compared to 13% who bought from a seller/provider located in another EU Member State. 7

9 FLASH Consumer attitudes towards domestic and cross-border shopping European consumers continue to show more confidence in local sellers/providers for their distance purchases A majority of European consumers (52%) say that they are more confident when purchasing goods or services via the Internet from sellers/providers in their own country than from those located in other EU countries. 34% are equally confident while 3% have more confidence in sellers or providers from other EU countries. The majority of Europeans (56%) also tend to be more confident when buying goods or services by phone or post in their own country than when shopping cross-border elsewhere in the EU. Consumers are increasingly interested in cross-border shopping A growing proportion of consumers, 50%, are willing to purchase goods or services using another EU language (+ 17 points in comparison to 2006). The percentage that would be totally unwilling to shop in a different language has fallen from 42% in 2008 to 30% in The proportion of Europeans who say they know where to get information and advice about cross-border shopping has also risen significantly, from 24% in 2006 to 39% in More consumers are now interested in making cross-border purchases (52%, +19) and are willing to spend more money (18%, +5) than in Knowledge of consumer legislation Varying levels of consumer rights knowledge A high proportion of respondents know that they have the right to return a good ordered by post, phone or the Internet 4 days after its delivery (70%). Conversely, nearly a quarter of consumers (23%) incorrectly believe they have no such right. Just over half of consumers know that they have the right to have a broken item, bought 18 months ago, repaired or replaced free of charge (51%). Nevertheless 2 consumers in 5 (41%) incorrectly believe they do not have this right. EU consumers seem uncertain about what to do if they receive DVDs they have not ordered together with an invoice. Only 35% know that they do not have to pay the invoice or return the DVDs. 59% incorrectly believe that they do not have to pay the invoice only if they return the DVDs. 8

10 FLASH Consumer problems and complaints Fewer delivery problems with cross-border than domestic purchases Across the EU, 1 in 5 consumers who have experience with domestic distance purchases (20%) report a delay in delivery from a domestic seller/provider. 13% of EU consumers who have experience with cross-border distance purchases report they have experienced a delay in the delivery of an item purchased from a seller/provider in another EU country. 18% of consumers who have experience with cross-border distance purchases were unable to buy a good from another EU country as the seller was not able to sell or deliver the products in their country. Most EU consumers refer complaints to the seller/provider/manufacturer 17% of EU consumers report that they have encountered a problem in the past 12 months when buying something in their own country. Of these, 80% complained to the seller/provider/manufacturer while 20% did not do so. This proportion is the same as that observed in The main reasons given for failing to complain about a problem were: the amount of money was too small to be concerned about (42%); no confidence in getting a satisfactory resolution to the problem (35%); the procedure is perceived as too lengthy (27%); lack of information about consumer rights (15%), and lack of knowledge about where to complain (10%). 58% of the consumers who complained were satisfied (50% in 2010). Of those who were not satisfied, 45% took no further action; 13% asked for advice from a consumer association and 6% from a lawyer; 3% went to an arbitration, mediation or conciliation body and 2% went to court. 12% complained to a consumer authority or regulator/regional authority. Unfair commercial practices More EU consumers now report that they have come across unsolicited (69%, +8 points) commercial advertisements, statements or offers than in % of consumers came across misleading or deceptive advertisements (+4 points). Around a fifth (18%) of the consumers who encountered misleading or deceptive advertisements also responded to them. This corresponds to around 8% of all consumers. The proportion of consumers encountering fraudulent advertisements has remained unchanged at 29%. Around a fifth (18%) of the consumers who encountered deceptive or fraudulent advertisements also responded to them. 5% of all consumers responded to such advertisements. 9

11 FLASH Consumer protection indicators Most consumers feel protected by existing measures Nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) report that they trust independent consumer organisations (+6 points since 2006) to protect their rights. 62% of consumers trust public authorities to protect their consumer rights, a 6 points increase since The great majority of EU consumers agree that, in general, sellers and providers respect their rights as consumers (65% in 2010 vs. 62% in 2006, 59% in 2008 and 58% in 2009). Overall, 58% of consumers feel adequately protected by existing consumer protection measures (no major changes since 2006). More than half of consumers (52%) agree that it is easy to resolve disputes through an arbitration, mediation or conciliation body. This figure falls to 38% for the courts. However, in both cases, EU consumers are now more likely to believe dispute resolution is easy than in 2010 (+4 and +5 points respectively). 55% of EU consumers say that they regularly watch/listen to consumer programmes on TV or radio. 41% say that they have changed their consumer behaviour as a result of a media story (e.g. changed shop or product). Product safety environment A small number of food and non-food products are thought to be unsafe The survey recorded declining trust in the safety of non-food products. In 2011 a quarter of respondents say they believe that a significant number of products are unsafe (compared to 20% in 2010). Slightly more than one in ten respondents now say that essentially all products are safe (compared to 16% in 2010). An absolute majority still thinks that a small number of products is unsafe (56%, compared to 53% in 2010). When asked about the safety of food products as opposed to non-food items, respondents perceptions were quite similar to those reported in 2010: 19% of respondents said that almost all food products were safe (-1 point), 51% thought that a small number were unsafe (-4 points) and 22% that a significant number were unsafe (+1 point). 8% of respondents say they have been personally affected by the market recall of a food product and 6% of a non-food product. Consumers are slightly more likely (4%, +2 points) now than in 2010 to say they have been affected by a recall of both types of products. 10

12 FLASH Environmental concerns Environmental aspects not a priority In 2011, 29% of consumers say that the environmental impact of a product or service influenced their purchasing decision. For a great majority (69%) the environmental impact of a product did not influence their choice. The proportion of consumers who took environmental aspects into consideration has decreased slightly since 2010 (- 3 points). 32% of EU consumers reported that they had encountered misleading information about the environmental impact of a product. 11

13 FLASH 1. DISTANCE SHOPPING AND CROSS-BORDER PURCHASES This first chapter looks at the extent to which Europeans engage in distance shopping 4 both domestically and cross-border. It also examines the levels of cross-border shopping 5, including distance purchases and shopping while abroad. An approximate monetary value is also given for annual distance spending domestically, within the EU and outside the EU. 1.1 Distance purchases by channel Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months Base: all respondents, % EU27 in / % EU25 in 2006 Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? 4 Distance shopping refers to any purchase made by consumers via the Internet, by telephone or through the postal service from sellers or providers situated either domestically or in another country. 5 Cross-border shopping is any purchase made by consumers from sellers or providers located in a country other than the country in which the consumer is resident; a purchase can be made when travelling abroad or through distance sale channels. 12

14 FLASH As in 2010, most European consumers carry out their distance purchases online. 46% of all respondents have purchased through the Internet in the past 12 months. This represents an increase of 9 points since 2010, suggesting that the share of online shopping is growing rapidly. Since the proportion of Internet shoppers has risen by 19 points, from 27%. Besides online shopping, 20% of consumers have purchased by post and 13% by phone in the past 12 months. The proportions of phone (-2 points since 2006) and mail (-7 points) purchasers have been falling slightly since 2006, particularly for the latter. Internet has become the main channel for distance purchasing in recent years e- commerce has been growing and at the same time the proportions of purchases by post and phone have been declining across all Member States. 6 At the time 25 EU Member States (Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007). 13

15 FLASH Distance shopping via the Internet As described above, the proportion of consumers who have purchased goods or services by internet in the last 12 months has grown steadily at EU level since At that time, 27% of EU consumers made purchases via the Internet, in comparison to the 46% recorded in Looking at country results it appears that there is a clear link between the prevalence of distance shopping via the Internet and the Internet penetration rate: in countries where the level of Internet access is the highest 7, online shopping is also more widespread. This appears to be the case for all five Nordic countries, namely Sweden (65% purchased via the Internet/household Internet access 88%), Denmark (64%/86%), and Finland (55%/81%), plus Norway (67%/90%) and Iceland (51%/92%). This is also true in the Netherlands (68%/91%), the UK (69%/80%) and Germany (57%/ 82%). In these countries the Internet penetration rate is approaching universal access. Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months via the Internet Base: all respondents, % by country 7 14

16 FLASH On the other hand, in countries with the lowest levels of online purchases, household Internet access remains among the lowest in the EU. These countries are Romania (20% purchased via the Internet/42% household Internet access), Greece (22%/46%), and Bulgaria (22%/33%). Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months via the Internet Base: all respondents, % of Yes answers by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? The chart above clearly shows that Internet shopping constitutes a rising trend across the EU. Since 2006, the largest absolute increases are observed in Slovakia (43%, +37 points), Ireland (56%, + 31 points), Poland (47%, +29), the Czech Republic (52%, +28) and Cyprus (34%, +28), while the slowest growth is recorded in Belgium (34%, +7), Denmark (64%, +11) and Italy (27%, +11). 15

17 FLASH Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months via the Internet, by those with home access Base: respondents who have home Internet access, % of Yes answers by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? Unsurprisingly EU consumers are more likely to purchase via the Internet both domestically and cross-border if they have Internet access at home. Across the EU, there is a 10-point difference in the level of online shopping recorded for all consumers (46%) and for those with home Internet access (56%). At national level, the widest difference is observed in Germany and the Czech Republic, where considerably more (+12 points) consumers with home Internet access purchase online than all respondents. The proportion of home Internet users who have made an online purchase has increased from 50% in 2006 to 56% in This represents an increase of 6 points, compared with 19 points among all respondents. In all Member States, respondents with home access are now more likely or equally likely to purchase online. The largest increases since 2006 are observed in Slovakia (+32 points), Cyprus (+31), Malta (+22) and Lithuania (+20). There has been no essential change in Belgium and Austria. 16

18 FLASH Socio-demographic analysis Online shopping behaviour is strongly linked to a number of socio-demographic characteristics as well as to other background variables as follows: Men (50%) are more likely than women (42%) to purchase online Consumers aged are the keenest online shoppers (65%), followed by the youngest age group (55%) and working-age respondents aged under 55 (50%). Conversely, respondents aged 55+ are significantly less likely to engage in online shopping (25%). The higher their level of education, the more likely respondents are to purchase online: 15% of those who finished their full-time education at the age of 15 or earlier report they have made a purchase via the Internet while the figure is more than three times as high for those who studied until at least the age of 20 (56%). White-collar (63%) and self-employed (59%) respondents are significantly more likely to purchase online than manual workers (44%) and those who are currently not working (32%). An Internet connection at home increases the likelihood of purchasing online in all socio-demographic groups. Base: all respondents 17

19 FLASH The Internet is still used to make distance purchases mainly from national sellers or providers: the proportion of domestic online shoppers has grown considerably from 23% in 2006 to 42% in Cross-border online shopping within the EU has slightly increased in absolute terms. One in ten EU consumers (10%) have now purchased online from a seller/provider in another EU country in the past 12 months compared with 6% in Only 6% of EU consumers have conducted Internet purchases from a seller or provider located outside the EU (+3 percentage points). Distance purchase via the Internet Base: all respondents, % EU27 in / % EU25 in

20 FLASH Distance purchase via the Internet, by those with home access Base: respondents who have home Internet access, % EU27 in / % EU25 in 2006 Having an Internet connection at home significantly increases respondents' likelihood of Internet shopping: 51% of EU consumers with home Internet access have made a domestic online purchase in the past 12 months. Cross-border online shopping is also more common, both within the EU (13% vs. 12%) and outside the EU (8% vs. 7%). 19

21 FLASH Domestic and cross-border online purchases The pages that follow will take a closer look at domestic and cross-border electronic commerce 8. E-commerce has great potential to provide a wider choice for consumers and can also make a substantial contribution to the development of the cross-border shopping dimension of the internal market. Domestic and cross-border Internet purchases Base: all respondents, % of Yes, from a seller/provider located in (OUR COUNTRY) and Yes, from a seller/provider located in another EU country, % by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways?-via the Internet (website, , etc.) EU consumers are considerably more likely to purchase online from a seller/provider located in their own country (42%) than from one located in another EU country (10%). This is the case in most Member States. The widest difference is observed in the UK, where 67% of consumers have purchased from a domestic seller/provider, while only 15% have purchased online from a seller/provider located in another EU country. A number of exceptions to this pattern can be observed in countries where domestic online markets are relatively small. This is true in Luxembourg (44% cross-border vs. 13% domestic), Malta (35% vs. 6%), Cyprus (24% vs. 6%), Ireland (36% vs. 29%) and Austria (34% vs. 32%), where respondents who purchase from another EU country outnumber those who purchase from domestic sellers/providers. This pattern could already be observed in 2010 for Malta (39% cross-border vs. 7% domestic), Luxembourg (38% vs. 12%), Ireland (34% vs. 26%) and Cyprus (22% vs. 11%)

22 FLASH Focusing solely on respondents with Internet access at home, it appears that having an Internet access tends to have more impact on the levels of domestic online purchases than on cross-border purchases from another EU country. For example, in the UK respondents who have home Internet access are considerably more likely to purchase online from domestic sellers/providers (78% vs. 67%) while the difference remains modest when it comes to cross-border purchases from another EU country (17% vs. 15%). Domestic and cross-border Internet purchases, by those with home access Base: respondents with home Internet access, % of Yes, from a seller/provider located in (OUR COUNTRY) and Yes, from a seller/provider located in another EU country, % by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways?-via the Internet (website, , etc.) 21

23 FLASH As we have seen, EU consumers who have Internet access at home (51%) are considerably more likely to make domestic online purchases than all respondents (42%). This has been a rising trend since 2006, particularly in Slovakia (+30 points), the Netherlands (+19) and Poland (+18). Conversely, fewer consumers in Ireland now report they have purchased online from a domestic seller/provider (-4) while the situation has remained essentially unchanged in Austria, Belgium and Malta. Domestic purchases made "at a distance" in the past 12 months via the Internet by those with home access Base: respondents who have home Internet access, % of Yes answers by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways?-via the Internet (website, , etc.) 22

24 FLASH Respondents who have Internet access at home are now generally more likely to shop online cross-border than in 2006 although the changes are much more modest than those observed for domestic online purchases. The largest increases are recorded in Malta (+23 points), Cyprus (+23) and Ireland (+18). As mentioned, these are all countries with relatively small domestic markets which may partly explain the demand for cross-border options. EU cross-border purchase made "at a distance" in the past 12 months via the Internet, by those with home access Base: respondents who have home Internet access, % of Yes answers by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways?-via the Internet (website, , etc.) 23

25 FLASH Distance shopping by telephone Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months by phone Base: all respondents, % EU27 in / % EU25 in 2006 The proportion of consumers shopping at distance by telephone has remained relatively unchanged since 2006 with 13% now reporting they have done so in the past 12 months in comparison to 16% in However, distance shopping by phone has been in steady although slight decline in the past 5 years. 12% of EU consumers report they have done so from a domestic seller/provider in comparison to 14% in The level of crossborder purchases by phone has remained very low; around 1% of all EU consumers have used the phone to buy goods or services from a seller or provider located in another EU country. 24

26 FLASH Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months by phone Base: all respondents, % by country Consumers in the UK and Finland (28% both) are the most likely to purchase at distance by phone, with over a quarter of all respondents reporting that they have done so in the past 12 months. Generally it seems that phone purchases are more common in the North of the EU than in the South. However, in Romania (18%) and in Malta (18%) nearly two respondents out of ten have purchased by phone. 25

27 FLASH Socio-demographic analysis Respondents who finished their full-time education between the age of 16 and 19 (15%) and self-employed respondents (17%) are more likely to purchase at a distance by phone than their counterparts. In addition, the youngest respondents (7%) are significantly less likely to engage in distance shopping by phone than respondents aged 25 or more (13% or more) which reinforces the finding, reported above, that online purchasing is the predominant channel for the youngest age group. Base: all respondents 26

28 FLASH Distance shopping by post Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months by post Base: all respondents, % EU27 in / % EU25 in 2006 One EU consumer in five has purchased at distance by post in the past 12 months. A significant 8-point decrease in the share of distance shopping by mail can be observed since This trend is mainly linked to a declining share of domestic mail sales: 19% of EU consumers (-6 points since 2006) have purchased at a distance by post from a domestic seller/provider in the past 12 months. The importance of cross-border mail shopping has been negligible since this aspect was first measured. 27

29 FLASH Purchases made at a distance in the past 12 months by post Base: all respondents, % by country Consumers in Austria (31%), Slovakia (30%) and Germany (29%) are the most likely to say they have purchased by mail in the past 12 months, around 30% of respondents having done so. In contrast, less than one in ten consumers in Cyprus (5%), Portugal (8%), Italy (8%) and Greece (8%) have made purchases by post. Almost all consumers who purchased goods and services via the postal service made their transactions with sellers/providers located in their home country. Around 2% of all EU consumers used mail order to buy goods and services from a seller/provider located in another EU country. EU cross-border purchases via the postal services were more common in Luxembourg (9%) and Austria (6%). 28

30 FLASH Socio-demographic analysis Women (23%) are significantly more likely than men (16%) to purchase by mail. This is also the case for respondents who spent longer in full-time education (21% of those who studied till the age of vs. 16% for those who finished their full-time education at the age of 15 or earlier). Interestingly, the gap between the youngest respondents (17%) and older groups (19-21%) is not as wide as it is in the case of telephone distance purchasing. Base: all respondents 29

31 FLASH 1.2 Overall levels of distance shopping Distance shopping in the EU all distance channels (via the Internet, by post or by phone) Base: all respondents, % EU27 in / % EU25 in 2006 Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? In 2011, 57% of EU consumers have made at least one purchase online, by phone or by post in the past 12 months. This represents an increase of 6 points in comparison to 2010 (51%) and substantial growth since 2006 (+13 points from 44%). Most distance purchases take place in the domestic market, with 53% (+5 points since 2010) of all respondents indicating that they have purchased from a seller/provider located in their own country. This represents a rise of 12 points since % of EU consumers have made cross-border distance purchases from a seller/provider located in another EU country. There has been a 3-point rise in EU cross-border distance purchases since In 2006, 7% of EU consumers had made a distance purchase in another EU country, which means that the absolute levels have increased slowly over the last 5 years. Distance shopping in countries outside the EU is not a widespread practice. Only 7% of EU consumers report that they have done so in the past 12 months. However, there has been a 3-point rise since

32 FLASH Distance shopping in the EU all distance channels (via the Internet, by post or by phone) Base: all respondents, % by country Distance shopping appears to be most common in the UK (79%), the Netherlands (75%) and Sweden (75%) where three-quarters of consumers or more shop in this way. In contrast, only about a third of respondents in Bulgaria (32%), Italy (32%), Greece (31%) and Portugal (30%) report that they have purchased any goods or services at a distance in the past 12 months. This suggests that there is a divide in the likelihood of distance shopping between Southern and Eastern Europe on the one hand and Northern and Western Europe on the other. This is partly confirmed by the data as EU15 respondents are considerably more likely to report that they have purchased at a distance than respondents in the EU12 (59% vs. 49%). 31

33 FLASH Distance shopping in the EU all distance channels (via the Internet, by post or by phone) Base: all respondents, % of Yes answers by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? In the majority of countries, distance shopping is now significantly more common than in 2006, most strikingly in Slovakia (+34), Ireland (+29), Romania and Cyprus (+27 both). There has been essentially no change in Estonia and Belgium during this period. 32

34 FLASH Domestic distance shopping Distance shopping from local sellers/providers Base: all respondents, % by country Most distance purchases take place in the domestic market with 53% (+5 points since 2010) of all respondents indicating that they have purchased from a seller/provider located in their own country. Over 70% of respondents in the UK (78%), the Netherlands (72%) and Sweden (72%) report that they have purchased at a distance from local sellers/providers in the past 12 months. The lowest figure (9%) is recorded in Cyprus, followed by Malta (19%) and Luxembourg (20%). As noted above, these are the smallest Member States with limited domestic markets, which may explain the low proportions of consumers purchasing from domestic sellers/providers. 33

35 FLASH Distance shopping from local sellers/providers Base: all respondents, % by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? Generally, domestic distance shopping is now more common than it was in This is particularly the case in Slovakia (+30 points), Romania (+27) and Poland (+26). Over this period, the proportions have remained relatively stable in Estonia and Belgium, and in Malta there has even been a fall (-5) in the share of consumers who have made a domestic distance purchase. 34

36 FLASH Distance shopping in other EU countries Distance shopping from sellers/providers from another EU country Base: all respondents, % by country 12% of EU consumers have made cross-border distance purchases from a seller/provider located in another EU country which represents a 3-point rise in EU cross-border distance purchases since The prevalence of cross-border distance shopping appears to be linked to the size of the Member State in question: the highest levels are recorded in Luxembourg (47%), Ireland (39%) and Austria (38%), whereas they are considerably lower in large Member States such as the UK (17%), Germany (12%) and France (11%). In general, distance shopping is a widespread practice in all these countries, suggesting that the size of the local goods/services market also plays a role when purchasing cross-border. The lowest levels of cross-border distance shopping within the EU are observed in Hungary (3%) and Romania (4%). 35

37 FLASH Distance shopping from sellers/providers from another EU country Base: all respondents, % by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? In most Member States the proportion of consumers who have made a cross-border distance purchase from another EU Member State has increased considerably since This rise is most striking in Ireland (+25 points), Malta (+21) and Cyprus (+20). Over the same period, proportions have remained relatively unchanged in Sweden, Hungary, the Netherlands, Latvia, Estonia, France and Romania, where a rise of only one or two points is recorded. 36

38 FLASH Domestic and cross-border distance purchases across the EU -% Base: all respondents, % by country Q1 In the past 12 months, have you purchased any goods or services, by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) or elsewhere in any of the following ways? As the graph above shows, in most countries domestic distance shopping is considerably more widespread than distance shopping from sellers/providers located in other EU countries. This gap is the widest in the UK, where 78% of consumers have made a domestic distance purchase while only 17% have purchased cross-border from another EU Member State. This pattern is reversed in three Member States, namely Luxembourg (47% in another EU country vs. 20% in own country), Malta (37% vs. 19%) and Cyprus (25% vs. 9%). In these countries, consumers are more likely to purchase cross-border than domestically. 37

39 FLASH Distance shopping outside the EU Distance shopping from sellers/providers outside the EU Base: all respondents, % by country 7% of EU consumers have made a distance purchase from a seller/provider outside the European Union (+2 points compared with 2010). Consumers in Malta (20%), the United Kingdom (16%), Ireland (15%) and Cyprus (13%) are the most likely to have made a distance purchase from a seller/provider located outside the EU. At the same time, this practice is virtually unknown in Romania, Poland and Hungary, reflecting the existing gap between EU15 countries and EU12 countries (8% vs. 3%). 38

40 FLASH Distance shopping from sellers/providers outside the EU Base: all respondents, % by country Generally, there has been an upward trend since 2006 in most Member States. This is particularly striking in Malta (+16) and Ireland (+9). 39

41 FLASH 1.3 Monetary value of domestic and cross-border distance purchases Approximate total value of goods or services purchased at a distance Base: respondents who made distance purchases (n= 14645), % EU27 Q2 You said you bought something over the Internet, by phone or post from a seller\ provider located in (...). Please tell me how much you spent in total on goods and services you bought by Internet, phone or post in (...) in the last 12 months, even if it s an approximate amount. In 2011, EU consumers report that they have on average spent 635 on distance purchases in the past 12 months. However, the most frequent total value of purchases remains below 500 and is most likely to be between % of consumers who have purchased at a distance belong to this group. The median of the money spent is 238, which suggests that there are some very high amounts included in the total that skew the average toward a considerably higher sum. On average Europeans spent more domestically ( 564) than cross-border within the EU ( 381) or outside the EU ( 309). 40

42 FLASH Total value of goods or services purchased at a distance Average values and median values (in euro) Base: respondents who made distance purchases (n= 14645), - by country Q2 You said you bought something over the Internet, by phone or post from a seller\ provider located in (...). Please tell me how much you spent in total on goods and services you bought by Internet, phone or post in (...) in the last 12 months, even if it s an approximate amount. Distance shoppers in Luxembourg ( 1046), Denmark ( 922), Austria ( 848), the UK ( 835), Germany ( 827) and the Netherlands ( 819) spent over 800 on average last year. In contrast, they spent less than 300 in Lithuania ( 282), Estonia ( 270), Bulgaria ( 201) and Hungary ( 187).The two highest median values are found in Austria and Germany (both 400) while Bulgaria and Lithuania record the lowest ones (both 87). 41

43 FLASH Value of domestic distance purchases European consumers report that they spent on average 564 on distance purchases within their own country in the last 12 months. For most, the total value of purchases was between 101 and 500 or 100 or less. The median of the money spent is 228 which suggests that there are some very high amounts included in the total that skew the average toward a considerably higher sum. Total value of goods or services purchased at a distance from local sellers/providers Average values and median values (in euro) 9 Base: respondents who purchased at a distance from local sellers/providers (n=13655), -by country Q2.1 You said you bought something over the Internet, by phone or post from a seller\ provider located in (OUR COUNTRY). Please tell me how much you spent in total on goods and services you bought by Internet, phone or post in (OUR COUNTRY) in the last 12 months, even if it s an approximate amount. There are distinct differences between the Member States in terms of the total monetary value of distance purchases, broadly reflecting the overall level of purchasing power in the countries concerned 10. The highest average spending, over 700, is reported in Luxembourg, Norway, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK while the smallest amounts - below are recorded in Bulgaria, Hungary and Lithuania. The difference between the highest average, in Luxembourg, and the lowest, in Bulgaria, is as much as 650. Taking the median amount as the benchmark, some differences can be observed. The highest median amount of 370 is observed in Germany, followed by Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Norway ( 300 each). 9 Please note that the results in Cyprus should be interpreted with care as the base is lower than 50 respondents. 10 See for example 42

44 FLASH Total amount spent on domestic distance purchases Base: respondents who purchased at a distance from local sellers/providers (n=13655), % by country Considerable differences are observed between Member States when it comes to the amount respondents have spent in the past year: The absolute majority of respondents in Romania (50%), Hungary (52%), Bulgaria (55%), Estonia (57%), Slovenia (58%), Lithuania (58%) and Malta (63%) have spent 100 or less on their domestic distance purchases in the past 12 months. In most countries, the largest proportion of respondents has spent between 101 and 500. The highest proportions have spent this amount in Austria (48%), Germany (47%) and the Czech Republic (47%). The highest proportions of respondents who have spent more than 1000 are recorded in Denmark (20%), Sweden (18%) and the UK (18%). 43

45 FLASH Value of cross-border distance purchases in the EU In 2011, European consumers making cross-border distance purchases in the EU report that they have spent on average 381 in the past 12 months. The median is again significantly lower, at 150. Total value of goods or services purchased at a distance from sellers/providers located in another EU country Average values and median values (in euro) 11 Base: respondents who purchased at a distance from sellers/providers located in another EU country (n=2989), -by country Q2.2 You said you bought something over the Internet, by phone or post from a seller\provider located in ANOTHER EU COUNTRY. Please tell me how much you spent in total on goods and services you bought by Internet, phone or post from another EU-country in the last 12 months, even if it s an approximate amount. As in the case of domestic distance purchases, the value of cross-border purchases differs considerably between the Member States. Firstly, a distinctly high amount of 761 is reported in Luxembourg which can be explained by the high frequency of cross-border transactions and the high level of purchasing power of its inhabitants. Austria stands in second place, with a lower average spending ( 609), followed by Slovenia, Denmark, Belgium, Cyprus and Finland where on average more than 500 is spent on cross-border distance purchases within the EU. Respondents in Hungary report by far the lowest spending in the past 12 months ( 167). 11 Please note that the results in Hungary and Romania should be interpreted with care as the base is lower than 50 respondents. 44

46 FLASH The median values for the money spent in the past 12 months are again significantly lower than the averages. The highest median values are still recorded in Luxembourg and Austria ( 300 and 250 respectively) but, at the other end of the scale, the lowest median value is recorded in Latvia ( 98), followed by Malta ( 100) and Bulgaria ( 102). Furthermore, the deviation of mean values is much smaller than that of the average values, implying that generally differences between the Member States are not as pronounced as the average values suggest. However, the bases at national level are small, and these results should only be considered as indicative. Total amount spent on distance purchases in another EU country se: respondents who purchased at a distance from another EU country (n=2989), % by country Ba 45

47 FLASH There are some differences between the Member States in the amount respondents have spent in the past year, with a regrouped scale: The largest proportion of cross-border distance shoppers in Bulgaria, Austria, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland and Romania say that they have spent between on cross-border purchases in the past 12 months in another EU country. In Sweden, Ireland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Netherlands respondents are almost evenly split between the two lowest categories, i.e. equal proportions of respondents say that they have spent 100 or less and between 101 and 500. In the remaining countries, respondents are most likely to have spent 100 or less. Consumers in Slovenia and Sweden (14%) are the most likely to report that they have spent more than

48 FLASH Total value of goods or services purchased at a distance from sellers/providers located in another EU country Average values (in euro) Base: respondents who purchased at a distance from another EU country (n=2989), -by country Q2.2 You said you bought something over the Internet, by phone or post from a seller\provider located in ANOTHER EU COUNTRY. Please tell me how much you spent in total on goods and services you bought by Internet, phone or post from another EU-country in the last 12 months, even if it s an approximate amount. The EU average figure of 381 for the total goods or services purchased at distance from another EU country is significantly lower than the average amount of 653 reported in Overall, EU consumers appear to be spending less on cross-border distance transactions in 2011 than in previous years. 47

49 FLASH Value of cross-border distance purchases outside the EU On average, Europeans spent 309 on cross-border distance purchases in countries outside the EU. The median value of 100 is considerably lower, indicating that a few extreme values at the high end skew the average. The graph below depicts the reported average and median amounts spent by country, but as the base of respondents in most countries is very small, these results should be interpreted with great care and they are not further analysed in the report 12. Total value of goods or services purchased at a distance from sellers/providers located outside the EU Average and median values Base: respondents who purchased at a distance from sellers/providers outside the EU (n=1679), -by country Q2.3 You said you bought something over the Internet, by phone or post from a seller\ provider located outside the EU. Please tell me how much you spent in total on goods and services you bought by Internet, phone or post outside the EU in the last 12 months, even if it s an approximate amount. Total amount spent on distance purchases outside the EU 12 Bases in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia are lower than 50 respondents. 48

50 FLASH Base: respondents who purchased at a distance from sellers/providers outside the EU (n=1679) % by country As stated above, the bases at country level are very small, making further analysis statistically unreliable. However, in general most consumers tend to spend 500 or less on cross-border purchases from outside the EU. 49

51 FLASH 1.4 Cross-border purchases while travelling Cross-border distance purchases have been discussed in detail above. However, crossborder shopping is also a relatively common practice when travelling abroad. This section takes a closer look at the incidence of cross-border shopping while on holiday or on a shopping or business trip in another EU country Cross-border purchases while on holiday or on a shopping or business trip Purchasing goods while on holiday, shopping or on a business trip in another EU country Base: all respondents, % EU27 Exactly a quarter (25%) of the respondents' report that they have purchased goods while on holiday or on a shopping or business trip in another EU country. The proportion has remained stable, as no significant difference is observed in comparison to 2010 and 2009 (26% and 25% respectively). 50

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