Dutch Consumers Spend €16.3 Billion in First Half of 2023

Ede, 28th September 2023

In the first half of 2023, online spending by Dutch consumers reached €16.3 billion, a 2% increase compared to the same period last year. The number of online purchases in the first half remains steady at 167.8 million. The proportion of online spending remains consistent: just as last year, 31% of total spending is done online, and 11% of all purchases are made online.

While consumers spent 5% more online in Q1, this dropped to -1% in the second quarter. "Both online and in-store, we see consumers spending less. They're trying to save money by delaying purchases, comparing prices, and reducing their fixed expenses," says Marlene ten Ham, General Director at Thuiswinkel.org. This is according to the latest figures from the Thuiswinkel Market Monitor, a study on online consumer spending in the Netherlands. This research is conducted by GfK on behalf of Thuiswinkel.org and Retail Insiders, in collaboration with PostNL, Betaalvereniging Nederland, and Currence.

Reduced Spending on Products

In the first half of 2023, consumers spent 3% less online on products than in the same period last year. Particularly in the Telecom and Home & Living categories, we see a decrease in spending (-14% and -10% respectively). However, there's an increase in spending on Sport & Recreation and DIY/Garden compared to last year (+9% and +6%). "During the COVID period, consumers invested in their homes and remote working setups, so those purchases were already made. Now, they're more inclined towards events, day trips, or DIY projects. "Compared to 2019, the pre-COVID era, Dutch consumers still spend more on online purchases. This could be due to price hikes, but we also see that the proportion of online spending relative to total spending is still higher than before," says Marlene ten Ham, Director at Thuiswinkel.org. The number of product purchases has also decreased by 1%. This is mainly due to Clothing (-12%) and Health & Beauty (-12%). Sport & Recreation (+12%) and DIY/Garden (+10%) are purchased more frequently.

Spending on Holidays and Events Increases, Consumers Save on Insurance

On the other hand, the online services sector continues to grow post-COVID. In the first half of 2023, there was a 10% increase in online spending on services compared to the first half of 2022. The number of online service purchases is also 5% higher than last year. The growth figures for both spending and purchases are driven by package holidays (+19% spending, +7% purchases), individual flight tickets & accommodations (+12%, +2%), and events (+13%, +10%). Insurance, however, shows a decline in both spending and purchases (-11% and -20%, respectively). "So, consumers aren't skimping on experiences, but they are on fixed costs like insurance and telecom. Services are also increasingly purchased online, from 83% of total purchases in 2019 to 89% in 2023. When shopping online, it's easy to compare both offerings and prices," says Ten Ham.

Cross-border Purchases Increase

Consumers are also making more online purchases outside the Dutch market. The number of cross-border purchases is up (+13%), as is the spending done abroad (+8%). There's a difference between products and services. The number of online cross-border product purchases is up (+15%), but the online spending on cross-border products has decreased (-6%). So, Dutch consumers are buying more products for less money across the border. For services, both the number of purchases (+6%) and spending (+22%) are up. The majority of Dutch cross-border spending still goes to Germany (24%), but this has been on a declining trend in recent years. The UK, on the other hand, has seen an increase (from 8% to 11%), as has China (from 5% to 6%).

Rise in Smartphone Usage Continues, iDEAL Also Grows

The number of purchases made via smartphones continues to rise, from 33% in the first half of 2022 to 35% in the first half of 2023. This comes at the expense of purchases made via tablets (from 13% to 12%) and desktop/laptop (from 52% to 51%). iDEAL sees growth in online spending (from 61% to 62%) and the number of online purchases (from 70% to 71%). Credit card usage is also up in both spending (from 14% to 15%) and purchases (from 8% to 9%), especially for cross-border purchases. Klarna's share also continues to grow: its share of online purchases has risen from 2% to 3%.