E-commerce involving goods and services grew by almost 9 percent last year in Finland, the new E-Commerce Statistics indicate. During the last three years, e-commerce has grown by almost one-fifth. Increasing e-commerce has increased international competition in commerce. As a result, it is now important to maintain the competitiveness of Finnish retailers.

According to E-Commerce Statistics by TNS Gallup, the Finnish Commerce Federation and the Finnish Direct Marketing Association, Finnish consumers’ online purchases of products and services totalled EUR 10.5 billion last year. More than 50% of e-commerce concerns various services and approximately one-third retail products.

The total e-commerce volume increased by 9 percent year-on-year. Online purchases of retail products increased at a slightly faster rate, up over 11 percent year-on-year.

High growth figures were also seen in online purchases of alcohol, medications and subscription TV services, where the supply has also grown. Purchases of computer and console games also saw high growth, over 60 percent, and movie downloads increased by almost 40 percent as well.

“The launch of international media concepts in Finland has made Finns excited about on-demand TV services. For example, the number of Netflix watchers has more than doubled according to our surveys. Online purchases are increasing also in other product categories, and one can see that positive experiences further increase the growth in e-commerce,” says Ville Wikström, Director of the TNS Gallup Digital unit.

In terms of online purchases, Finns lead the way in Northern Europe. According to a European comparison, a typical Finnish e-commerce customer spent over EUR 1,900 on online purchases in 2012 on average, while the North European average figure is slightly under EUR 1,600. The most enthusiastic Nordic online shoppers can be found in Norway.

Growth in e-commerce has accelerated in recent years

Collected since 2010, E-commerce Statistics indicate that the sum spent by Finns online has increased by 18 percent in the last three years. Online retail purchases have even outgrown overall e-commerce growth, up 25 percent to EUR 3.4 billion.

The online growth in certain product categories has been particularly rapid over the last three years. Hardware sales, for example, have grown by 90 percent online, which is mainly due to Finnish companies starting to sell products online. The growth in foods, on the other hand, has been accelerated by alcohol orders made online in particular.

Online purchases of shoes have increased by 60 percent over three years, sales of pet and animal supplies by 90 percent. Gambling has also moved increasingly to the Web in recent years; the growth over the last three years has been almost 40 percent.

“Solid understanding of customers and systematic building of customer experience are things that the world’s leading online shops have in common. Without them, any online shop, regardless of the country, has to continuously be in a shouting contest for new customers, which is a tough ride,” says Jari Perko, Managing Director of the Finnish Direct Marketing Association, describing the competitive situation in e-commerce.

Online purchases of magazines, on the other hand, have decreased by a quarter since 2010. In recent years, it has been seen how purchases of various downloaded online content have begun to replace purchases of music, movies and computer software from retail shops.

Even though online shopping has increased at a rapid rate in recent years in Finland, its share of all retail trade is under 8 percent. However, the share of online purchases is higher in specialised commerce and department store purchases.

“In Finland, industry politics as a whole are focused on developing and supporting the manufacturing industry, and the significance of commerce and services as a creator and distributor of employment and well-being has not been acknowledged. Commerce cannot succeed in competition from abroad if the cost burden of the home market is increased all the time,” says Juhani Pekkala, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation, sending greetings to the government’s budget negotiations.

Background information:
The 2013 statistics are based on a consumer survey. A total of approximately 12,800 consumers were surveyed. As part of the survey, consumers are asked quarterly to give details of their online purchases, including the value of the purchases and the language in which they were made, during the last three months.

E-Commerce Statistics by TNS Gallup covers the sales of both products and services as well as services bookings. A total of 30 product categories and approximately 70 sub-categories are included in the survey. The statistics have been compiled since 2010.

More information:
Ville Wikström, Director at Digital, TNS Gallup, tel: +358 (0)9 6135 0674, ville.wikstrom(at)tnsglobal.com

Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Federation of Finnish Commerce, tel: +358 (0)9 1728 5134, jaana.kurjenoja(at)kauppa.fi

Jari Perko, Managing Director, Finnish Direct Marketing Association, tel: +358 (0)40 565 9700.