Study: Over 3 million Romanians buy online, but 70 pct prefer cash payments

Aurel Dragan 29/05/2018 | 12:01

Over half of the 6 million Romanians with access to the internet made a purchase online at least once a month in the last 12 months, up 9 percent over the same period in 2016-2017, according to a study made by GPeC ans iSense Solutions.

While 53 percent of people who have access to the Internet have purchased a particular product online, over the last 12 months online shopping has become more popular for new customer categories, the highest increase from 36 percent to 51 percent being registered for the age segment of 45-54 years.

Also, an important increase is also seen in the 35-44 age range, from 51 to 58 percent, while for users aged 18-34 the data remained at the same level as in 2016 -2017.

According to the research, Romanians buy online from the shops they are used to. Thus, as in the period 2016-2017, the Romanians visited, on average, nine stores, with a frequency of 3-4 times a week. The main reasons for online purchases remain the same: shorter time, the ability to compare prices from different stores and a growing variety of products that they can order from the online environment.

At the same time, 65 percent of the respondents mentioned that they do not trust that the products presented on the sites correspond to the reality, and 58 percent of the Romanians choose to buy from the physical stores in order to be able to choose and test the products on the spot and they want it, while 46 percent of those questioned fear a possible fraud when shopping online.

With regard to the categories of products that were best sold online in the last 12 months, specialized analysis reveals that electronics and home appliance, clothing and fashion accessories, computers and laptops, as well as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are the first places in preferences. In addition, categories that attracted the largest number of new customers are fashionable, with an increase from 80 percent in 2017 to 86 percent in 2018, followed by tourism and hotel services with an average of 70 percent to 77 percent, and books from 67 percent to 72 percent.

Usually, 92 percent of online buyers have purchased household and electronic articles, spending about 1,098 lei. At the same time, 86 percent of the Romanians spent 833 lei for the purchase of clothing and fashion accessories, while 83 percent of them allocated slightly over RON 1,000 per year for laptops and computers. Also, 81 percent of Romanians allocated on average RON 807 for the purchase of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and 77 percent of them opted for stays and trips, with an average of RON 787 per year.

In the last 12 months, the most important online purchases were for hotel services (RON 1,305), electronics and home appliances (RON 1,098), furniture and interior decoration (RON 833) or car articles (RON 807). Compared to 2016-2017, the average annual amount spent increases by approximately 5-7 percent for each category. The most significant increases are in the categories of telecommunications, car, train and plane tickets and Home & Deco, with growth rates of 10, 12 and 16 percent.

The main reasons why 70 percent of Romanians choose to buy online to save time and 50 percent prefer this type of shopping for the great variety of products found and the ability to easily compare offers from different stores. In addition, 48 percent of online shoppers believe that prices are more affordable in the online environment, while 46 percent of respondents claim they have found the desired product only on the internet.

With regard to online payments with the card, over three quarters of Romanians (76 percent) choose to pay in cash when receiving the parcel in 2018, with the ratio constantly being 2016-2017 and 78 percent respectively. Card payments record an increase of 5 percentage points this year, to 55 percent, from 50 percent in the previous year. An increase of 21 percent is also noted in the value of the sums paid by the card, from RON 1,489 in the period 2016-2017 to RON 1,793 in the last 12 months. For online stores abroad, the Romanians spent an average of EUR 281 in the reference range, the value rising slightly this year to EUR 301.

However. in terms of online payment, the lack of trust in card data is still the main reason why 70 percent of Romanians choose to pay cash, compared to 65 percent in 2017. Other reasons stated by respondents to the study are: fear of not to be deceived (47 percent) and the long period in which they would recover their money in case of a possible fraud (35 percent).

On the subject of the new European Regulation on Personal Data Protection (GDPR), 85 percent of Romanians said they are familiar with this concept and with what regulations it brings. Moreover, 76 percent of respondents said they are open to sign up for an online store and after May 25th, an equal percentage saying they will still be subscribed to newsletters received from stores which he visits.

The survey was conducted in May 2018 on a representative urban sample of 914 respondents selected from the online researchromania.ro panel, people over 18 years of age, Internet users. The initiators of the project are GPeC, the largest eCommerce event in South East Europe, and the research company iSense Solutions – The Modern Consumer Company.

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