The Portuguese online market is worth 7,130 ME in 2023 and 9,300 ME in 2025

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The Portuguese e-commerce market should be worth 7,130 million euros this year and 9,300 million in 2025, but only 16% of companies in Portugal have an ‘online’ sales channel, according to a study by Deloitte.

According to the study “E-Commerce & Last Mile 2023”, to which the Pp agency had access today, the revenues of ‘online’ commerce “have been increasing consistently since 2017”, and this trend was amplified “due to the period of confinement due to the covid-19 pandemic, in which the consumption habits of the Portuguese underwent major changes and the emergence of new ‘online’ stores”.

In this context, Deloitte estimates that the Portuguese e-‘commerce’ (electronic commerce) market will “rise to 7,130 million euros by the end of 2023 and reach 9,300 million euros by 2025.

Although it points out that the majority (62%) of companies in Portugal have an ‘online’ presence – website or social networks – the study notes that “only 16% take advantage of these platforms to generate business,” i.e., have an active sales channel on the Internet.

For companies that use digital tools, the estimated weight of sales through these platforms is 23%, with “clothing and fashion”, “electronics”, and “beauty, personal care and home care” being the categories with the highest volume of online purchases in 2022.

The study also shows that 64% of respondents intend to go shopping online again in the future and 71% would choose this option as an alternative to a visit to the physical store, highlighting “convenience, availability and product variety” as “the added value” of this way of shopping.

Among Portuguese Internet users, more than half (53.4%) report having made purchases ‘online’ in the last year, which represents an increase of six percentage points over the pre-pandemic period, with Deloitte predicting “that the numbers will continue to rise, to 56.8% in 2025.”

According to the Deloitte study, protection and privacy of personal data is an important factor for ‘online’ consumers, with 79% saying they felt their personal information was well protected, with 83% considering the shopping experience as important as product quality, 69% believing that a good experience raises expectations of other brands, and 59% willing to pay more for a good shopping experience.

However, the analysis of the online channels of the sample of operators with online stores showed that the speed of e-commerce websites in Portugal “is generally lower than recommended, affecting the consumer’s browsing experience.

“Despite a slight improvement compared to 2020, almost all of the operators analyzed continue to record loading times longer than expected,” reads the study.

In addition to speed, users value a simple shopping experience, so “the ability to make purchases as a guest becomes an attractive factor for the consumer and decreases the likelihood of abandoning the shopping process in the cart”, but the fact is that only 65% of the companies analyzed allow users to complete the purchase without registering or logging in.

The return process is also pointed out as “crucial in the consumer experience”, with 76% of respondents considering that free returns are one of the most relevant features in the process of buying ‘online’, and the “clothing and fashion” sector is the one where more companies offer this option (47%).

According to the study’s findings, 98% of customers say they are more likely to buy again from an online store where they have had a good return experience, and 86% consult the return policy before making a purchase.

According to the consultant, the speed of delivery, the availability of information about them in real time and the simplicity of return processes “are essential aspects for consumers to consider that they have had a good online shopping experience”, and the practices adopted by companies in the area of sustainability have been gaining importance in the public’s perception of brands.

“Although the vast majority of respondents (98%) are satisfied with their ‘online’ shopping experience, it is clear that consumers’ expectations of this sector are increasing,” concludes Deloitte.

Quoted in the release, Deloitte partner José Augusto Silva believes that “the digital presence of companies is increasingly important, because that’s where the market is,” arguing that “the first step to success in this area of enormous explosion is to know and understand what end consumers are looking for.

The study “E-Commerce & Last Mile 2023” was conducted by Deloitte in partnership with the Portuguese Logistics Association (APLOG) based on a sample of 186 companies with online stores and operations in Portugal (74% of which also have physical stores) and 555 responses collected from consumers.

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