Edition 2021

Foto omschrijving: Meal delivery walking in the pouring rain with a large backpack

What do we buy online?

In the first half of 2021, 77 percent of Dutch people aged 12 years or older (approximately 11.7 million people) purchased something online. This is 9 percent more than a year earlier and 21 percent more than in 2019. Clothing, meals and films and series via streaming services or downloads are the most frequently ordered goods or services.

Clothing, footwear, accessoriesFood deliveryFurniture, home decor, garden productsSporting goodsBooks, magazines, newspapersWhat do we buy online?59%47%30%29%28%26%25%24%22%21%

Dutch people aged 12 years or older most frequently bought clothes, sporting goods, shoes or accessories such as bags and jewellery (59 percent) in the three months prior to the surveynoot1 ‘ICT use by households and individuals’, which was held in the months April to July 2021. Almost half (47 percent) ordered meals from a restaurant, fast food chain or caterer. Around 30 percent also purchased furniture, home accessories or/and garden items, cosmetics or sports articles. A quarter bought one or more of the items from a private person via the internet, for example via Marktplaats.

Internet purchases in the three months prior to the survey1) (% of persons aged 12 and over)
Jaartal Minder dan 3 maanden geleden
2015 54
2016 57
2017 62
2018 64
2019 64
2020 71
2021 77
1)The survey ‘ICT use by households and individuals’ is held annually in the months April to July.

Films and series purchased most often of all online services

Of online products or servicesnoot2, films or series accessed via a streaming service or download were the most often purchased (46 percent). Thirty-five percent bought music via a streaming service or download, an internet subscription or mobile phone. Buying tickets for the cinema or a concert or cultural event dropped sharply from 29 percent in 2020 to 8 percent in 2021.

Products and services purchased online in the three months prior to the survey, 20211) (% of persons aged 12 and over)
Diensten Share
Films and series via streaming service 46
Music via streaming service or download 35
Internet or mobile phone subscriptions 35
E-books, online magazines, newspapers 18
Online games, games or downloads 17
Computer software or software upgrades 15
Other paid apps 9
Tickets for cinema or cultural events 8
Paid health or sports apps 5
Household services, e.g. cleaning, babysitting, handyman services 5
Tickets for sporting events 2
1)The survey ‘ICT use by households and individuals’ is held annually in the months April to July.

More expensive online purchases growing in popularity

Not only are ever more people shopping online, the amount they spend is also increasing.

Of the people who purchased something online, 26 percent reported to have spent 500 euros or more. This was 21 percent a year earlier. Men spend more money on online purchases than women. Thirty percent of the men and 22 percent of the women said they spent a total of 500 euros or more.

The Dutch most often made internet purchases of between 100 and 500 euros; 42 percent made purchases in this price range in 2021. We also shop online more often: In the past year, 42 percent of the Dutch population made six or more internet purchases, compared with 33 percent in 2020.

Especially 25 to 44‑year‑olds shop online; in 2021, 89 percent of this group bought goods or services online. The most significant increase was observed among over‑65s. Sixty-eight percent of 65 to 74‑year-olds shopped online; in 2020, this figure was 59 percent. Thirty-five percent of over‑75s made online purchases, compared with 25 percent a year earlier.

People on low incomes shop online less often

Of those in the lowest income groupnoot3 (first quartile), 61 percent shopped online in 2021; in the highest income group (fourth quartile) this figure was 89 percent.

Women are just as active e-shoppers as men: 77 percent of men and women shopped online.

The questions


ICT use by households and individuals

The study ‘ICT use by households and individuals’ is conducted annually by CBS in the months April to July. The study looks at people who made an online purchase in the three months prior to the study. In 2020, around 6 thousand people aged 12 or older participated in the study.

Online products or services

A distinction is made between, on the one hand, physical (tangible) goods delivered, such as furniture, clothing and printed books, and on the other, products or services delivered online, such as e-books, online games, online tickets and apps. An example: printed books are counted as goods and e-books as online products or services.

Standardised income

The standardised household income applies to all persons in the household as a measure of welfare. Households are divided into four groups (income quartiles) with an equal number of households according to their standardised income. The standardised income is the disposable income adjusted for differences in household size and composition.


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
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Explanation of symbols

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

CBS responds to developments in Dutch society by providing statistical information as facts that matter, and communicates on these facts with the outside world. In doing so, CBS offers insights into current developments in society and helps answer policy questions. Research at CBS is focused on broad trends in society and how these are interrelated.

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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek


Ronald van der Bie

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

Michel van Kooten

Sidney Vergouw

Paul de Winden

Karolien van Wijk

Gert Jan Wijma


Frans Dinnissen

Gaby de Vet

Taalcentrum VU

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.