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eMarketer estimates that the digital buyer population in Spain—those ages 14 and older who make at least one purchase via any digital channel during the year—will rise 7.9% in 2015 to reach 17.5 million, representing 60.0% of internet users. While the country will maintain the fastest growth in digital buyers in Western Europe through 2019—with the exception of next year, when it will trail Italy—it will remain in second-to-last place for reach among internet users throughout our forecast period, ahead of only Italy. By 2019, 67.3% of internet users in Spain will be digital buyers, or 20.9 million people.
Recent research suggests that those who do buy digitally do so frequently. According to a May 2015 study by Interactive Advertising Bureau Spain (IAB Spain) conducted in partnership with Viko and in collaboration with Ámbito Cultural and Cultura Inquieta, nearly three-quarters of digital buyers ages 16 to 55 in Spain made digital purchases at least once a month, and one-fifth did so four or more times monthly.
Technology and communication products were the leading category purchased digitally by respondents, cited by 68%, followed closely by leisure and culture (66%) and travel and lodging (64%). After that, response rates dropped below the 50% mark. Fully 48% of digital buyers purchased fashion items online in the past 12 months, while food and home products were purchased by about four in 10 respondents. Shoes (34%), accessories (29%), sporting goods (28%) and cosmetics (27%) rounded out the list.
Digital sources had a role among digital buyers from the start of the purchase path. When asked about the information sources used for research prior to making a digital purchase, respondents were most likely to turn to blogs and forums; brand websites, social networks and digital ads were each cited by more than a quarter of respondents. Still, friends and family maintained a prominent role in kicking off the buying process, ranking as the second most popular information source.
eMarketer expects retail ecommerce sales in Spain to hit $15.89 billion this year, up 13.9% year over year; this represents a small 5.0% of retail sales in the country. By 2019, Spain’s retail ecommerce sales will reach $23.33 billion, or 7.2% of all retail sales.
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