The MCA carried out its seventh eCommerce survey with the aim of obtaining an indication of the level of internet and eCommerce usage accross the Maltese islands and to gauge the sector's potential for growth.
The statistics continue to depict a positive picture of eCommerce as the survey reveals that 72% of the Maltese population have access to the Internet whilst 65% of the Maltese use the Internet mainly for shopping, sending and receiving e-mails, researching information, browsing for products or services and reading newspapers. The most avid readers of online newspapers are the 66+ age group. 73% of Internet users claim to use the Internet for 7 hours or more per week, an increase of 16% from 2008. For the first time in this study respondents were asked to mention where they typically look for information about products and services. Almost all Internet users claim to use search engines whilst more than half said that they refer to eBay. Lack of interest or need (54% of non-Internet users and mostly claimed by 18-29 age group of non-Internet users) and not knowing how to operate a PC and/or Internet (32% of non-Internet users), still persist as the main reasons why 35% of the Maltese population is still reluctant to use the Internet, with the latter being more prevalent amongst the female and the 66+ age groups.
The study shows that online shopping continues to increase across all demographic groups resulting in half of the Maltese population buying over the internet. It is interesting to note that males tend to do more online shopping than females, 57% versus 45%. 64% of eCommerce users have shopped online in the last 3 months, whilst half claim to have spent €120 or more over a period of 6 months.
The most popular items that people buy online include clothing, IT/electronic goods, books and flight reservations. It is encouraging to note that online purchases from Maltese websites doubled from previous years, with items such as flight reservations, and concert/event tickets topping the list. Undoubtedly, paypal remains the most sought after payment method in online shopping. Although 27% of eCommerce users claim to have experienced a problem in the last 6 months, only 3% still had an outstanding issue. Delays, undelivered items and damaged items still remain the most common type of problems that online buyers encounter. Moreover, people are becoming more knowledgeable as to whom to contact in case of eCommerce difficulties and/or eCommerce scams or fraud. 69% refer to the vendor if an item is delayed, undelivered or damaged whilst 41% would contact the bank if they were to fall victim to some scam or fraud. 68% of the respondents, regardless of whether they bought online or not, claimed to have access to a credit card.
Preferring to see and try on items before buying remains the main deterrent from buying online, followed by security issues and concern that items will not be delivered, delivered damaged or not as shown on website.