Hungarian Conservative

Online Shopping Stagnates in 2023 Survey Finds

In 2022, the long upward trend in online shopping came to a halt, and it further deteriorated last year. The number of buyers decreased the most markedly in the 16–35 age group.

The previous growth of online shopping has stalled, as concluded by a study conducted by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH).

While online shopping continues to play a significant role in retail, the sector’s previously experienced growth has plateaued. According to data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH), from 2009 to 2021, the total value of goods sold online increased faster each year than the overall retail sector. However, in 2022 the long upward trend came to a halt, and it further deteriorated last year. The NMHH study found that in 2023, 80 per cent of Hungarian internet users purchased at least one product online. Most commonly, 47 per cent bought clothes or shoes, followed by health-related products, food, and beverages.

Between 2021 and 2023, the spending per purchase did not decrease; in fact, according to consumers’ estimates, the amount spent per occasion significantly increased for almost all of the 14 product categories examined. The most significant increase was observed in food and beverages: for instance, the cost of an online grocery shopping increased from 9,000 to 16,000 forints, understandable given the pronounced food inflation during the period. Similar price hikes were noted for cleaning products and chemicals. The authority also examined the number of purchasing occasions per capita. While the frequency of purchasing home furnishings and building materials, DIY products decreased, it increased to a greater or lesser extent for other product categories. Fashion items saw the most significant rise: on average, a shopper now orders clothes or shoes three times a year.

However, the negative trend is evident in the decreasing number of buyers in individual product categories,

particularly affecting the young age group of 16–35 years old.

The proportion of online shoppers decreased for all product categories during the examined period, albeit with significant differences between types of goods. The smallest decline was observed among online buyers of fashion items (minus 12 per cent). The decrease was also moderate for food items and health-related products (medicines, therapeutic preparations). Conversely, the proportion of online buyers halved for building materials, DIY products, vehicles, and vehicle parts. Generally, the decline in the number of buyers was less pronounced for product categories characterized by frequent but lower-value purchases, whereas larger expenditures were more likely to be postponed during the uncertain years of 2022 and 2023. The study revealed that income level significantly influences online shopping across all examined product categories. Income most significantly affects the online purchase of vehicles and vehicle parts. With a net income of around 400 thousand forints, 16 per cent of people buy such products online, while this doubles for incomes exceeding 700 thousand forints.

The NMHH also examined the significant impact of age and gender on online shopping. Younger individuals tend to prefer online shopping for fashion items, delivered meals, groceries and beverages, books, cosmetics, phones, entertainment electronics, computer equipment, and home furnishings. In contrast, older individuals are more likely to order medicines and therapeutic products online. The likelihood of a woman ordering clothes or shoes online is 53 per cent, while for men it’s only 39 per cent. However, online purchases of therapeutic products, books, cosmetics, cleaning products, and home furnishings are predominantly made by women. On the other hand, men are more likely to order phones, entertainment electronics, computer equipment, DIY products, building materials, vehicles, and parts.

In smaller towns and villages with fewer stores and a limited selection people prefer to order clothes or shoes, cosmetics, household appliances, tools, DIY products, building materials, and vehicle parts online. However, online food and beverage purchases, as well as meal delivery are more common in larger cities, where the range of supermarkets, restaurants, and courier companies offering home delivery is broader. For example, the likelihood of a Budapest resident ordering groceries online is 34 per cent, while for a resident of a village it is only 26 per cent.

The survey looked at the online shopping habits of the Hungarian population aged 15 and over between 2021 and 2023.

Related articles:

Changing Media Consumption Habits of Younger Generations: Insights from NMHH’s Media Market Report
Print Media’s Decline: Study Reveals Shifting Trends in Information Consumption in Hungary

Sources: Hungarian Conservative/NMHH

In 2022, the long upward trend in online shopping came to a halt, and it further deteriorated last year. The number of buyers decreased the most markedly in the 16–35 age group.