Almost 3.5 million e-buyers

25. 06. 2014.

In Hungary, the number of people buying goods online reached 3.4 million in 2014. This number equals 72% of regular adult internet users. It is primarily information technology devices, books, toys / gifts, and clothes that are thrown into virtual baskets. Most people still use desktop computers for online purchases, but some now shop with their mobile phones and tablets according to the latest “Report on the Internet Economy”, a study by eNET – Telekom focusing on Hungarians’ online shopping habits.

3.4 million e-buyers, HUF 217 billion turnover 

Hungary’s retail e-commerce sector exceeded expectations in 2013 as the turnover of online shops reached HUF 217 billion or 3.1% of the overall retail turnover, eNET’s annual e-commerce research focusing on the supply side (webshops) indicates. This volume is 23% higher than the performance measured in 2012.

In May 2014, eNET interviewed regular Internet users aged 18+ to find out about their online shopping habits. The results indicate that the number of e-customers, i.e. those who bought goods on the Internet at least once in the past year, is 3.4 million, which equals 72% of all Internet-surfing adults. Some 12% of the rest have made purchases online, but more than one year ago, and 16% have never used that channel.

It’s all about convenience

E-customers choose this way of shopping because of the convenience (69%) and good prices (54%), but many interviewees also mentioned home delivery and comparable prices as advantages.

Those who have never shopped online (i.e. 16% of regular Internet-surfing adults) mostly complain that they cannot touch or examine the goods, and/or they do not consider online shopping safe.

Half of regular Internet users buy goods online at least quarterly; most purchase information technology, books, toys/gifts, or clothes.

Webshop review

There are more than 5,400 Hungarian-language webshops in Hungary’s e-commerce; as these are just a click away from each other, it is especially important to know how buyers select the webshops they prefer. Online buyers aged 18+ who use the Internet regularly consider the following factors the most important: delivery price (93%), product price (93%), product images (92%). But the detailed product description, the guarantee conditions, and a fast ordering process are deemed almost as important. Features like webshop design, a well-known brand and product videos are considered the least significant.

Online shopping on several devices

Most people (63%) refer to their desktops as their primary e-shopping device, followed by laptops / netbooks (50%). One in 10 buyers purchases goods with their mobile phones, while only 4% use their tablets for that purpose. Directly or indirectly related activities such as information gathering, reading product reviews, or registering in a webshop are chiefly performed on desktops as well. Mobile phones and tablets are used more frequently to obtain information or read product reviews.

Payment upon receipt; courier service

E-buyers prefer payment upon receiving the goods (58%) or bank transfer (45%). As to the delivery method, most people (72%) choose home delivery via a courier service. However, the delivery fee can be an important factor: 82% of the interviewees claim that cost is the main consideration when choosing a delivery / receipt method. Half of all online buyers consider speed important when deciding on the delivery method, while easy access to the point of receipt is deemed the least important.

The switch between a courier service and personal delivery is indicated by the fact that almost half (49%) of e-shoppers choose the former method only if they cannot take over the goods in a shop or at a delivery point. But almost one in three online buyers definitely choose a courier service.

Shopping from abroad

Even though shopping from abroad is not shown in domestic trade figures, these habits are important to know when assessing e-commerce. eNET’s research conducted in May 2014 includes those foreign transactions. Some 37% of Hungarian e-buyers claim to purchase goods from foreign webshops; within this group, every second person does so at least once in six months. As to the type of the goods bought, information technology and clothes dominate, followed by watches and jewels, toys/gifts, mobile phones, and entertainment electronics. Customers of international webshops consider lower prices (71%) as the main advantage compared to Hungarian peers; 54% and 66% also indicate a wider product range and access to products not available in Hungary as benefits of foreign online stores.

Potential in e-commerce

The turnover of e-commerce has been expanding steadily for years, and this trend is likely to continue as the market has more growth potential. The business volume may be increased by the changing shopping habits of people who are already e-buyers. It is a task for webshops to persuade people to spend more (and more frequently) online, in order to increase the share of the online turnover within the overall retail trade volume. (This ratio was 3.1% in 2013.)

Also, not all Internet users buy goods online. Even though 72% use webshops regularly, the remaining 28% never do, or have not done so for more than a year. Convincing these people to purchase goods on the Internet may boost growth further. Finally, increasing the number of Internet users is the next opportunity that may expand the group of online shoppers, albeit indirectly.

eNET – Telekom