Even as online shopping grew in the European Union in 2020 against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bulgaria continued to be the EU country with the lowest percentage of internet users making online purchases.
Figures released by EU statistics agency Eurostat on February 17 showed that in 2020, just 42 per cent of internet users in Bulgaria shopped online.
However, the country has seen a steady increase in online shopping. In 2009, about 10 per cent of internet users in Bulgaria shopped online. By 2018 and 2019, ahead of the Covid-19 crisis, this had risen to 31 per cent.
Eurostat said that online shopping is continuing to grow in the EU, and with high street shopping affected by the Covid-19 restrictions and changes in habits and preferences, e-commerce can be expected to grow further.
In the 12 months prior to the 2020 survey, 89 per cent of people aged 16 to 74 in the EU had used the internet, 72 per cent of whom had bought or ordered goods or services for private use. Online shopping increased by four percentage points (pp) compared with 2019 (68 per cent of internet users) and by 10 pp compared with 2015 (62 per cent).
More than eight in 10 internet users in the Netherlands (91 per cent), Denmark (90 per cent), Germany (87 per cent), Sweden (86 per cent) and Ireland (81 per cent) had bought or ordered goods or services over the internet in the 12 months prior to the survey.
On the other hand, fewer than 50 per cent had shopped online in Bulgaria (42 per cent), Romania (45 per cent) and Italy (49 per cent; 2019 data).
Over the past five years, the largest increases in online shopping among internet users were recorded in Romania (+27 percentage points (pp), Czech Republic and Croatia (both +25 pp) as well as Hungary (+23 pp).
In the three months prior to the survey, the most common online purchases were clothes (incl. sport clothing), shoes or accessories (ordered by 64 per cent of online shoppers).
Wearables were followed by films or series as a streaming service or downloads (32 per cent), deliveries from restaurants, fast-food chains and catering services (29 per cent), furniture, home accessories or gardening products (28 per cent), cosmetics, beauty or wellness products (27 per cent), printed books, magazines or newspapers (27 per cent), computers, tablets, mobile phones or their accessories (26 per cent) and music as a streaming service or downloads (26 per cent), Eurostat said.