Internet shopping is booming
In the first six months of 2017, the number of on-line purchase transactions rose 13 per cent, according to data published by Thuiswinkel.org. An equally positive picture is expected for the year as a whole. Meanwhile, figures from IAB show a similar increase in business spending on advertising over the same period. The research findings confirm what many people in the Netherlands had already observed: the internet economy is booming.
Less growth in transaction values
It's worth noting that the average transaction value didn't increase by as much as the number of transactions. The difference was small (1 percentage point), but it highlights the fact that it's mainly the volume of low-value purchases that's going up. A few years ago, such 'small ticket' sales were barely worth the trouble for a seller. Another point to bear in mind is that there are big differences between sectors.
As expected, smartphones are making big strides
Bigger screens and the ability to pay by app without putting a card in a reader have made smartphones a much more attractive payment medium. Seven per cent of all purchases are now made by smartphone. That's almost twice as many as a year ago, and the smartphone's share of the payment market is expected to increase further.
A great time to open a webshop?
Does the setting described above make this a great time to open a webshop? Opinion is divided. Some observers point to the US, where the market is dominated by two providers: Walmart and Amazon. Around Christmas, up to 80 per cent of all on-line sales in the States go through those two retailers' checkouts. The Netherlands is bound to see a similar pattern of concentration before long, the argument goes.
However, the Dutch e-commerce landscape is very varied. In our small country, there are more than a thousand hosting service providers and more than fifty thousand webshop proprietors. The vast majority of Dutch businesses have websites, while in neighbouring countries such as Belgium more than half see no need.
New ball game means new opportunities
Market conditions remain dynamic, and dynamism means opportunity. One important trend in the years ahead will be a shift from typed searching to voice searching. That's going to be a whole new ball game, where new players can make their mark.