27 February 2019

Plenty of potential for growth in Finns’ use of online stores

Finnish consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly delivery and packaging materials

The share of Finns who shop online actively (once a month or more often) was 59% (+5 percentage points). Even though the share of active online shoppers has increased slightly, the online shopping activity of Finns is still low in comparison to other countries. This information was taken from the online shopper survey published by the International Post Corporation (IPC). The results of the survey that are related to Finland were published today.

The latest cross-border online shopper survey by International Post Corporation (IPC) received 33,589 responses from online store customers in 41 countries. For Finland, the number of respondents was 1,005.

Most online store purchases are from stores in China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden

Chinese online stores (53%) were the most popular among foreign online stores. Among Finns who had ordered goods from foreign online stores, 36% had ordered from a store in Germany, 26% from a store in the United Kingdom and 21% from a store in Sweden. The share of online purchases from the United States was 18%. Of the countries covered by the survey, online shoppers in Russia were the ones who made the most purchases from Chinese online stores: 89% of Russian online shoppers who have ordered goods from a foreign online store have bought from a Chinese online store.

Finland’s online shopping activity was the lowest among the countries included in the survey. Only 5% of online shoppers in Finland buy online once a week on average, compared to 13% in Sweden, 23% in Germany and 34% in the United States.

Shoes and clothes make up the majority of purchases from foreign online stores

Finns mostly buy clothes and shoes (31%) and electronics (13%) from foreign online stores. The third most popular product group was health and beauty products (12%).

Typically, goods bought from foreign online stores are small and inexpensive. Of the online store purchases made by Finns from foreign online stores, most (84%) weighed less than 2 kg, and more than half of those (56%) weighed not more than 0.5 kg. More than half (64%) of the purchases cost less than EUR 50, and 41% of the purchases cost under EUR 25. 44% of the purchases made would have fit into a mailbox.

“There is plenty of potential for growth in Finns’ use of online stores. Internationally, the delivery of small parcels to mailboxes is common and popular. Delivery to a mail slot is a good opportunity for Finnish online stores as well,” says Sami Finne, Vice President, International eCommerce at Posti.

In Finland, customs clearance must be done and taxes must be paid for purchases arriving from outside the EU if the value of the goods is more than EUR 22. Finns’ satisfaction (36%) with the customs clearance process was lower than that of other countries (49%). 17% of online shoppers were either extremely dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with the process.

Consumers are willing to pay for eco-friendly packaging and delivery

The survey also examined online shoppers’ attitudes towards the environmental impact of e-commerce. Most Finns wanted carbon-neutral delivery for their online purchases, and up to 60% would be willing to pay EUR 0.10 for it. 79% of Finnish online shoppers wanted eco-friendly packaging, and 66% would be willing to pay EUR 0.10 for it.

According to the survey, the five most popular websites for online shopping were Wish (18%), eBay (16%), Amazon (9%), AliExpress (7%) and Zalando (5%). Well over half (63%) were either extremely or very satisfied with their online shopping experience.

According to Finne, Posti enables international e-commerce in Finland with its extensive service offering, comprehensive parcel locker network and home deliveries.

“Delivery times from Central Europe, Sweden and Asia will get much shorter in the coming years. This year, we will be able to route items to customers’ desired pick-up points even better for items arriving from abroad as well,” says Finne.

Finns love Posti parcel lockers

Finns favour parcel lockers for receiving parcels more than consumers in other countries. 40% of Finns prefer to pick up their parcel from a parcel locker. For other countries, the share of consumers who prefer parcel lockers was 10%.

Finland is a pioneer in using parcel lockers for the delivery of online purchases. Relative to population size, Posti has the most dense parcel locker network in Europe, Finne says.

In the entire survey, home delivery was preferred by 68% of respondents. In Finland, 64% of consumers want their parcel delivered directly to their home (down 12% from 2017).

Free delivery for nearly half of the purchases

47% of Finnish online shoppers receive free delivery for their online purchases, which is less than in other countries. On average, 62% of online shoppers received free delivery for their purchases. In practice, transport costs are taken into account in the price of the goods.

Purchases using a mobile phone increasing

Finns most commonly use a laptop (41%) or a desktop computer (31%) to order goods online. However, the use of smartphones has increased significantly.  Last year, 20% of Finns used a smartphone to buy goods from foreign online stores, which is twice as many as in 2016.

Globally, mobile phones (33%) are the most commonly used device for making purchases online. Laptops were used 31% of the time and desktop computers 27% of the time.

In 2018, Posti delivered 44 million parcels and around 15 million small items.

Source: Posti