The Portuguese e-commerce market is expected to be worth €7.130 billion this year and €9.3 billion 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 Lusa agency had access on Tuesday, revenues from ‘online’ commerce “have been increasing consistently since 2017”, with this trend amplified “due to the period of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in which the consumption habits of the Portuguese underwent major changes and the emergence of new ‘online’ shops took place”.
In this context, Deloitte estimates that the Portuguese e-‘commerce’ (e-commerce) market will “rise to €7,130 billion by the end of 2023 and reach €9.300 billion 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”, that is, 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 the sectors of “clothing and fashion”, “electronics” and “beauty, personal and home care” being the categories with the highest volume of online purchases in 2022.
The study also shows that 64% of those polled intend to go shopping online again in the future and 71% would choose this option as an alternative to visiting a physical shop, highlighting “convenience, availability and variety of products” as “the added value” of this way of shopping.
Among Portuguese internet users, more than half (53.4%) said they had made purchases online in the last year, which represents an increase of six percentage points compared to the pre-pandemic period, with Deloitte predicting “that numbers will continue to rise, to 56.8% in 2025”.
According to Deloitte’s 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 a good experience raises expectations of other brands and 59% willing to pay more for a good shopping experience.
However, from the analysis carried out on the online channels of the sample of operators with online shops, it was concluded 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 analysed continue to record loading times higher than expected,” reads the study.
In addition to speed, users value a simple shopping experience, so “the possibility of making purchases as a guest becomes an attractive factor for the consumer and reduces the likelihood of abandoning the shopping process in the cart”, but the fact is that only 65% of the companies analysed allow users to complete the purchase without having to register or ‘login’.
The returns process is also pointed out as “decisive in the consumer experience”, with 76% of respondents considering that free returns are one of the most relevant features in the purchase process ‘online’, and the “clothing and fashion” sector is the one where more companies offer this option (47%).
According to the study’s conclusions, 98% of customers say they are more likely to buy again from an online shop where they had a good experience of returns and refunds, and 86% said they consult the returns policy before making a purchase.
According to the consultancy, also the speed of delivery, the availability of information about them in real time and the simplicity of returns processes “are essential aspects for consumers to consider that they have had a good experience shopping ‘online’, and the practices adopted by companies in the area of sustainability are gaining importance in the public’s perception of brands.
“Although the vast majority of respondents (98%) are satisfied with their online shopping experience, the increase in consumer expectations regarding this sector is evident,” concludes Deloitte.
Quoted in the statement, 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 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 shops and operations in Portugal (74% of which also have physical shops) and 555 responses collected from consumers.