Edition 2020

Photo description: Woman shopping online for clothes, credit card at hand.

How many people shop online? And the items they buy...

Dutch people increasingly shop via the internet and are purchasing more items. In 2019, 79 percent of Dutch people aged 12 years and over purchased something online; in 2015 this figure was 70 percent. The most frequently made online purchases included clothing, sports goods, trips and accommodations.

55%clothing or sporting goods52%travel and accommodation47%tickets for events38%household goodsor appliances31%groceries, cosmeticsor detergents31%books, magazinesor newspapers30%software, hardware, electronics17%films, music9%medicinesHow many people shop online? And the items they buy…

In 2019, the items most frequently bought online by people aged 12 and over were clothing or sports goods (55 percent), trips and accommodations (52 percent), and tickets for events (47 percent). Ordering meals at a restaurant, from a fast food chain or a meal delivery service was done by 35 percent.

The strongest growth was seen in the categories food, cosmetics or cleaning, and household goods and appliances. The percentage of Dutch people buying these goods online has more than doubled in four years.

Of all goods and services bought online, films or music and tickets for events showed the lowest increase in sales.

Especially 25 to 44‑year-olds like to buy online; in 2019, 92 percent of this group bought goods or services online. The largest increase was seen among over-65s. In 2019, 63 percent of 65 to 74‑year-olds made online purchases; four years earlier this figure was still 45 percent. Thirty percent of over-75s made online purchases, compared with 17 percent in 2015.

Online shoppers by age (%)
2019 2015
Total 79 70
12 to 24 yrs 86 77
25 to 44 yrs 92 88
45 to 64 yrs 85 72
65 to 74 yrs 63 45
75 yrs and over 30 17

More and more money spent online

Not only has the number of online shoppers gone up, the amount they spend has also risen in recent years. Amounts spent online in the three months prior to the study were most likely to be between 100 and 500 euros; 26 percent of the Dutch population made purchases in this price category this year. This was 21 percent in 2015. Online purchases of thousand euros or more were made by 5 percent.

On average, men spend more money on online shopping than women. Fifteen percent of men and 9 percent of women said they had spent a total of 500 euros or more in the three months prior to the study.

Online shopping expenditure (% of persons aged 12 yrs and over)
Year Nothing / do not know Less than 50 euros 50 to 100 euros 100 to 500 euros 500 to 1,000 euros 1,000 euros or more
2019 40 8 14 26 7 5
2015 47 9 14 21 6 3

Half of online shoppers have complaints

Of the Dutch population who shopped online over the course of 2019, half reported complaints. In 2015, 40 percent had complaints about their online purchases. Late delivery of the ordered products is the most frequent complaint, with one-third complaining about this. The second and third-most cited complaints are technical problems during the ordering and payment process (14 percent) and receiving incorrect or damaged goods (13 percent).

Around 2.2 million Dutch people reported they had not made any online purchases in the year prior to the study. Eighty percent said they preferred to visit a shop, for example to inspect the merchandise with their own eyes. Nearly 3 in 10 were concerned about security and privacy and did not want to submit credit card details or other personal data. Over one-quarter indicated they did not know how online shopping worked.

The questions


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Explanation of symbols

Explanation of symbols
Symbol Explanation
Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

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Concept & image editing

Irene van Kuik


Anne Blaak

Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek


Ronald van der Bie

Kees Groenenboom

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

Michel van Kooten

Sidney Vergouw

Paul de Winden

Elma Wobma

Karolien van Wijk

Gert Jan Wijma


Gabriëlle de Vet

Frans Dinnissen

Final editing

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

We thank all other colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in Numbers.