European consumers want both stores and ecommerce

European consumers are asking more and more for interdependence between offline stores and the internet. And for the first time in five years Europeans feel that their personal situation is improving. And because curbs to online buying have gradually been removed, ecommerce in Europe is still rising sharply.

These are the key conclusions of a survey held by L’Observatoire Cetelem. It asked 7900 consumers of 12 European countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom and Slovakia) about their internet use, shopping habits and feelings about the economic situation in their country.

Based on these results it seems that for the first time in five years, Europeans (with the exception of the French) feel that their personal situation is slightly improving. They give a rating of 5/10 to their own situation, while they gave it a 4.8/10 one year ago. The French however, think their situation got slightly worse as they now give a rating of 5.2, compared to 5.3 last year. European consumers also think more positive about the general situation in their country. Last year they gave a rating of 3.7/10, and now that rating is improved to 4/10. Still not enough, but they’re getting there…

Consumers are more confident about spending money
All things considered, European consumers now seem more confident as 40% of the consumers surveyed say they want to increase their consumption expenses in 2014, compared with 33% last year. At the same time saving intension dropped slightly.

Only 14% of Europeans who have never ordered anything via the internet say this is because they are afraid of paying online. Six years ago this percentage was still 48%, so the curbs to online buying are gradually being removed. Also the fear of receiving a damaged product or getting something that doesn’t conform to the original order has declined: from 44% in 2008 to 15% this year.

Tablets and smartphones
European are open to modern techniques to order online as one in six consumers made their last online purchase with a tablet or smartphone. These kinds of devices are also used more often inside stores to compare prices, 41% of the Europeans has done that this year. “When they have a purchase to make, 17% of Europeans do so directly on the Internet while 12% go first to the store to see and touch the product before buying it online. In all, nearly 30% of Europeans use the internet first”, says L’Observatioire Cetelem.

Offline stores AND ecommerce
The French company thinks the results of the survey prove that the so called brick and mortar stores have not had their last word. “In the coming years, 54% of Europeans will always make their purchases in‐store as a priority because they offer what the Internet is still struggling to offer consumers, and by which they place the greatest importance: the possibility of seeing and touching the products.” According to several consumers, stores should change into Web 2.0 points of sales and offer consumers speed and choice, two things the internet does best.

Is ecommerce the end of the traditional store?
photo credit: Atos International via photopin cc