Online purchases by citizens for private use

  • 2 out of 3 inhabitants of Flanders buy online

    In 2018, the proportion of citizens aged 16 to 74 who have bought or ordered in the previous year goods or services for private use via a website or via an app was 65%. This proportion has risen sharply in recent years, although there was no increase between 2017 and 2018. In 2005, 16% of the inhabitants of Flanders bought or ordered goods or services online. 

  • Proportion frequently buying online is increasing

    For purchases during the last 3 months (prior to the survey), the proportion of citizens purchasing online has grown since 2009. For the first time, there was no increase in this proportion from 2017 to 2018. The share of citizens who purchased on a rather sporadic basis remained fairly stable over the total period. Sporadic purchases in this context means: purchases between 3 and 12 months ago or longer than 12 months ago. 

  • Online purchasing increases with educational level and income

    The proportion of citizens in the Flemish Region who made an online purchase in the previous year varies according to age, education, family income and country of birth. 

    The percentage of online buyers is smaller in the group aged 55 to 74 than in the younger age groups. The percentage of online purchasers increases with educational level and with income. The share of online buyers is higher for people born in Belgium than for people born abroad. 

  • Online purchases mainly from Belgian vendors and from vendors in other EU countries

    In 2018, 53% of people aged 16 to 74 in the Flemish Region made an online purchase from a Belgian vendor. 43% made a purchase from a vendor in another European country and 11% from a vendor in a non-European country. 3% of the Flemish people did not know the origin of the vendor. 


    For each of these 3 categories of vendors (Belgium, other EU country and non-EU country), the proportion of citizens purchasing online has increased since 2008, except for the last year, where there is no increase for Belgian vendors and vendors from a non-EU country. 

  • Inhabitants of Flanders in European middle bracket for online purchases

    A larger share of the inhabitants of Flanders (65%), as compared to Brussels residents (58%) and Walloon resident (53%), purchased or ordered goods or services online in the previous year for private use. These data concern citizens aged 16 to 74. 


    The Flemish share is higher than the EU average of 60%. Yet the Flemish Region is somewhat in the middle bracket of EU countries. In the top 3 EU countries, at least 80% of the citizens purchased or ordered online in the previous year. 


Publication date

30 July 2019

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