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Nine in 10 internet users in Germany will shop online in 2012, according to eMarketer estimates, and just under eight in 10 will make a purchase—the second-highest online buyer penetration worldwide. But compared to the rest of the EU-5, average spending by these buyers ranks last.
June research from Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online Forschung (AGOF) suggests that lower-ticket purchases may be at least partially responsible for those somewhat depressed spending figures. While those who go online to research products do not seem to discriminate by price point, that changes at checkout.
Books, an inexpensive purchase, topped the product research list as well as the product purchase list. But travel, while No. 2 for research, fell to No. 6 for purchases.
Movie tickets, meanwhile, moved from third place for research to second place for purchases. And more expensive categories—like hotels and home furnishings—fell in rank when it came to online buying.
Women’s clothing also ranked significantly higher for purchases, jumping from 10th place on the research list to third for product purchase. And men’s clothing joined the top 10 list for purchases—an indication that buyers in Germany either know what they want when they begin to shop for clothing or commit to their clothing purchases pretty quickly.
Higher-priced online purchases in Germany may be somewhat hampered by antiquated consumer payment methods. BITKOM found in August that invoices were the most common means of making an ecommerce purchase in the country. A majority of consumers did use services like Paypal, however, and as such offerings gather steam in Germany and invoicing diminishes in utility, online purchases may rise in value.
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