As a result of the exponential growth of online retailing and tourism, it is becoming increasingly important for retailers to gain insight into the differences in consumer behaviour amongst countries. Although the Netherlands is a relatively small player in the global retail landscape, it distinguishes itself in a positive way regarding consumer behaviour. From an international perspective, Dutch consumers are highly online-oriented. An internet penetration rate of 94% and a share of online shoppers of over 71% are proof of the online orientation of Dutch consumers. The Netherlands is also a frontrunner with regards to alternative payment methods. There are almost no countries where consumers use cash as rarely as in the Netherlands. Just 37% of consumers use cash as a payment method.
The Netherlands is not just a popular travel destination for tourists, but also an important shopping destination. This becomes apparent from the 6.1% share of tourist consumption as a portion of the total retail expenditure in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is experiencing constantly increasing visitor numbers. This tourist pressure is partly alleviated by the Factory Outlet Centres in Lelystad and Roermond. These outlet centres profit from Asian tourists in particular.
Compared to other countries, particularly China, M-commerce activities are relatively limited in the Netherlands. This applies to both retailers and consumers. Large players such as Bol.com, Wehkamp and Albert Heijn score well in terms of M-commerce activities. The fact that these parties are successful in M-commerce does not mean that this is the case across the board. Relatively few retailers appreciate the value of providing a consumer-friendly M-commerce platform. There is significant room for improvement in this respect, both for bricks-and-mortar and online retailers.
The cross-border shopping behaviour of Dutch consumers is especially striking. Almost half of all online shoppers in the Netherlands order products from abroad. Chinese, German and British web shops are extremely popular. In the Netherlands, cross-border expenditure rose faster than the total expenditure in online shopping in 2015 (GfK). According to GfK, almost €515 mln was spent on cross-border online shopping. Almost 25% of this cross-border expenditure went to Chinese web shops. The main challenge for retailers is this: Enlarge your online relationship with the Dutch consumer.