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Internet Purchases

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The introduction in mid-March of the COVID-19 emergency measures meant that all non-essential retail outlets were, except for those providing essential services, closed with the easing of some restrictions from the end of June. The data for this survey was collected in Q1 and Q2 of 2020. Social distancing measures were introduced in shops that remained open and measures, such as limiting the number of persons in shops, were introduced by various retail outlets.

During this time, more people chose to shop online. Almost seven in ten (69%) internet users purchased goods and/or services online in 2020, an increase of six percentage points on 2019. The number of females purchasing online (in the previous three months) was substantially higher than males. Nearly three quarters (73%) of females purchased online, compared with 64% of males. Of internet users aged between 30 and 44 years, 85% purchased goods and/or services online in the three months prior to interview, compared with over two thirds (68%) of persons aged between 45 to 59 years. There was a significant increase in the number of persons aged 60 to 74 years who purchased online in the previous three months, with 52% in 2020 compared to 39% in 2019. See Table 6.1.

Persons who never bought or ordered goods and/or services over the internet decreased by ten percentage points, with 13% in 2020 compared to 23% in 2019. See Table 6.1.

Show Table: Table 6.1 Percentage of individuals who bought or ordered goods and/or services online, 2019 and 2020

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As part of the Government COVID-19 measures, all restaurants, cafés, bars, takeaways, etc. were closed and some remained open for delivery service only. One third (33%) of internet users made online purchases (in the three months prior to interview) of Ready-made food delivered (from restaurants, fast food chains or catering delivery services). In 2020, 17% of internet users bought Food/beverages from stores or meal-kit providersSee Table 6.2 and Figure 6.1.

Over six in ten (63%) of internet users bought Clothes (includes sports clothing), shoes or accessories (includes bags, jewellery, etc.). While sports fixtures and training sessions were cancelled during the ‘lockdown’ period, people were exercising within the distance limits set by the Government in their suite of COVID-19 measures. Nearly one quarter (24%) bought Sports goods (includes sports gear and equipment but excludes sports clothing) online. See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.1.

All hairdressers, beauty salons, nail salons, etc. closed in mid-March as part of the COVID-19 measures put in place. Of internet users surveyed, over one quarter (26%) made online purchases of Cosmetics, beauty or wellness products within the three months prior to interview. See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.1.

As part of the measures put in place in March, all DIY, home furnishing and gardening stores were also closed. Of internet users surveyed, 28% made online purchases in the previous three months of Furniture/home accessories or gardening productsSee Table 6.2 and Figure 6.1.

Show Table: Table 6.2 Individuals who use the internet classified by types of physical goods purchased online during the last 3 months, 2020

Type of internet purchasesClothes, shoes or accessoriesSports goodsReady-made food deliveredFood/beverages from stores or meal-kit providersFurniture/home accessories or gardening productsPrinted books magazines or newspapersCosmetics beauty or wellness productsComputers, tablets, mobile phones or accessoriesConsumer electronics or household appliancesChildrens toys or childcare items
Type of internet purchases63243317283426251919

As a result of the COVID-19 measures put in place by the Government in March, all shops except for those providing essential services were closed. One in seven (15%) internet users made online purchases of Cleaning products or personal hygiene products (includes toothbrushes, washing detergents, etc.), while 9% bought Medicine or dietary supplements (such as vitamins, but excludes medical prescriptions) within the previous three months. See Table 6.3 and Figure 6.2.

Show Table: Table 6.3 Individuals who use the internet classified by types of physical goods purchased online during the last 3 months, 2020

Type of internet purchasesCleaning products or personal hygiene productsMedicine or dietary supplements such as vitaminsMusic CDs vinyls etcFilms or series as DVDs Blu-ray etcBicycles mopeds cars or other vehicles or their spare partsOther physical goods
Type of internet purchases15987714

Respondents were asked from whom they bought these goods in the previous three months. Online purchasing from National sellers has remained unchanged from 2019 and remains the most common, with nearly three quarters (73%) of persons buying or ordering their goods from National sellers.  However, fewer internet users report purchasing goods from Sellers from other EU countries (56% of internet users in 2020 compared to 68% in 2019), with a marginal increase in internet purchasing from Sellers from the rest of the world (38% of internet users in 2020 compared to 37% in 2019).  See Table 6.4.

Nearly one in five (19%) of internet users bought their goods online from a private individual on such platforms as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc. See Table 6.4.

Show Table: Table 6.4 Individuals who bought or ordered goods online in the last 3 months by origin of seller, 2019 and 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic measures put in place by the Government in March included persons being confined to home and to their own household, except for essential shopping or emergency journeys. Also, all fitness and sports centres were closed and sports training, etc. cancelled. People have been doing their own home training and exercise/keep fit routines, including the use of fitness Apps. One in twelve (8%) of internet users surveyed stated that they purchased Apps related to health or fitness, while one in ten (10%) bought Other Apps online (including Apps related to learning languages, travelling, weather, etc). One quarter (25%) of internet users surveyed purchased online Music as a streaming service or downloadSee Table 6.5 and Figure 6.3.

Show Table: Table 6.5 Individuals who bought or subscribed to apps or streaming services during the last 3 months, 2020

2020
Films or series as a streaming service or downloads32
E-books, online magazines or online newspapers26
Music as a streaming service or downloads25
Games online or as downloads20
Computer/other software as downloads20
Apps related to health or fitness8
Other Apps10

As part of the Government COVID-19 measures, all sporting events were postponed or cancelled. All cultural and event centres like museums, galleries, theatres and concert venues were closed, as were cinemas. The effect of this measure can be seen in the drop in online purchase of Tickets to cultural or other events (including cinema, concerts, fairs, etc.) and Tickets to sports events.  Three in ten (30%) purchased Tickets to cultural or other events online, while 9% bought Tickets to sports events online. The corresponding category in the 2019 survey was Tickets for events which covered cultural, sport and other events and, in 2019, 45% of internet users report they purchased tickets for events. See Table 6.6.

Over one quarter (26%) of internet users surveyed during this period, purchased Subscriptions to internet or mobile phone connections. See Table 6.6.

Show Table: Table 6.6 Individuals who use the internet classified by other services purchased online during the last 3 months, 2020

With the increase in the purchase of goods and services online, the frequency of these internet purchases increased also. Over one fifth (21%) of individuals who purchased online did so more than ten times in the previous three months, an increase of seven percentage points on 2019. A similar number (21%) bought between six and ten internet purchases, an increase of two percentage points on 2019. Conversely, persons who made three to five purchases in the previous three months, decreased by eleven percentage points when compared to 2019, 27% in 2020 compared with 38% in 2019. The number of individuals purchasing only once or twice online increased by just two percentage points, from 29% in 2019 to 31% in 2020. See Table 6.7 and Figure 6.4.

Show Table: Table 6.7 Individuals who purchased over the internet in the last 3 months classified by number of purchases made in this period, 2019 and 2020

1 to 2 purchases3 to 5 purchases6 to 10 purchasesMore than 10 purchases
201830362015
201929381914
202031272121

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