Austrian online shoppers mainly buy cross-border

Austrian online shoppers mainly buy cross-border

Online spending in Austria has grown by 5 percent in one year, reaching 10.6 billion euros. More than half of the expenditures are made in foreign webshops. “Dramatic”, says the Austrian Handelsverband.

The trade association responds to the results of a comprehensive ecommerce study, commissioned by Handelsverband and conducted by the research institute KMU Forschung.


According to Handelsverband, online trade has made an “economic comeback”, with clothing, electronics, and furniture as the largest product categories. After a period of stagnation, online spending in Austria is on the rise again, although the growth figures (April 2023 compared to April this year) are also due to inflation.

Inflation has also caused Austrian consumers to critically look at their spending patterns, which negatively affects environmental awareness. Of the respondents, 42 percent indicated that they had returned at least one item, compared to 38 percent a year earlier.

Cross-border ecommerce

The approximately 6 million Austrian online shoppers can now choose from more than twelve thousand domestic online shops, according to the researchers. Nevertheless, most of their online purchases come from foreign providers: 54 percent of the expenditures flow there.

54% of expenditures flow to foreign webshops.

The research shows that especially the youngest Austrian consumers buy a lot at foreign retailers. Half of the over-fifties say they never make purchases from international players.

Dramatic development

Rainer Will, director of Handelsverband, speaks of a “dramatic” development: “Almost 6 billion euros now flow to foreign online stores. Austrians thus finance approximately 150,000 jobs abroad, also as a result of necessary legal frameworks and inadequate customs controls.”

‘Austrians finance 150,000 jobs abroad.’

Competition conditions

Online shoppers are primarily attracted by the lower prices of products across the border. The Austrian Handelsverband will vigorously advocate for fairer European trade, says director Will: “We have no other choice but to work towards fair competition conditions and the abolition of the VAT exemption up to 150 euros, no later than 2026.”



Arjan van Oosterhout has been contributing to Ecommerce News Europe since the spring of 2023. He writes news articles for the website on a freelance basis.

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