E-commerce in Portugal and the European Union in 2022 - residential and business segment

Executive Summary

43% of individuals made purchases and 9% made sales over the Internet

In 2022, 43% of individuals in Portugal made purchases via the Internet in the three months prior to the survey (an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous year). Over the previous twelve months, 54% of individuals made an online purchase (an increase of 2 percentage points compared to the previous year). The reported annual growth was lower than that recorded in 2021 (+7 percentage points) and in 2020 (+6 percentage points), years which were marked by a change in consumer behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and equal to that recorded before the pandemic (in 2019, there was increase of 2 percentage points).

Around 25% of individuals have never made a purchase over the Internet. Meanwhile, around 9% of individuals made sales online.

The percentage of individuals who made purchases online in Portugal was the 21st highest in the European Union (EU27) in the last 3 months and the 23rd highest when it comes to online sales.

Clothing and footwear, home-delivered meals and cosmetic products are the most ordered goods

"Clothing/shoes" (66%) and "meals delivered at home" (42%) were the most commonly ordered physical products over the Internet, followed by "cosmetics, beauty and wellness products" (28%). and "computers, tablets, mobile phones, complementary IT equipment or accessories" (27%). "Sports equipment" was the product that saw the largest decline compared to the previous year (decreasing 6 percentage points).

Portugal was ranked in 5th position in the EU27 for the purchase of "computers, tablets , mobile phones, complementary computer equipment or accessories" over the Internet, in 6th position in the purchase of "books, magazines or newspapers (on paper)", in 7th position for the purchase of "meals delivered at home" (12 percentage points above average), in 10th position for "cosmetics, beauty or well-being products via the Internet" and in the 12th position for "sports equipment".

Among digital products, "movies, series or sports programmes for download or subscription online" were the most purchased items on the Internet (38% of individuals who made purchases online). Portugal was rankled in 7th position in the EU27 for purchases of this type of digital product.

In terms of services contracted over the Internet, purchases were led by "accommodation services" (36%), "tickets for cultural or other events, such as cinema, concerts, fairs" (32%) and "transport services" (32%), with Portugal ranked in 7th, 11th and 12th positions in the EU27, respectively.

User Profile

Individuals with high levels of education, higher incomes, employees or students were more likely to make purchases and sales via the Internet. This profile is similar to the EU27 average and in line with the previous year.

18% of companies received orders through electronic networks in 2021

During 2021, around 18% of Portuguese companies with 10 or more employees received orders through electronic networks (1 percentage point below the EU27 average and 3 percentage points above the previous year). These orders represented 17% of turnover (in line with the previous year).

Although most companies receive orders through their website/app, about 9% of the analysed companies received orders through e-commerce portals or digital platforms (via apps) used by different companies.

Delivery issues and preference for face-to-face contact are the main barriers to use

According to the most recent data for 2021, 93% of the individuals surveyed had no difficulty in placing orders via the Internet. "Order delivery time" (3%) and "delivery of damaged or incorrect goods or services" (3%) were the most mentioned problems in online purchases.

The main barrier to the use of e-commerce was "preference for personal contact, force of habit or loyalty to regular customers", followed by "no need to buy online " and "payment security concerns".

High delivery and return costs continue to be the main problem identified by companies

More than half of the companies that sold to customers in other EU countries reported some difficulty in the process (28 percentage points more than reported in the previous survey), with the main problems mentioned being the "high costs of delivering and returning products" (33%) and "difficulties related to the VAT system in EU countries" (24%).