No Surprise: Greeks Shopped Big Time Online During Pandemic

Αssociated Press

FILE- A woman passes in front of a closed shop as the sign reads "Continue your shopping, on line" at Ermou Street, Athens' main shopping area, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – It's no shocker but people in Greece locked down at home during the raging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 used online shopping more, although they were allowed to go to supermarkets, many shunning them for deliveries instead.

Greece had the highest annual increase in Europe in electronic commerce during that year, said the yearly report on the industry released by Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce, according to Kathimerini.

The turnover of online purchases in 37 European countries averaged 10 percent higher in 2020 from 2019 but in Greece it was a roaring 77 percent, far ahead of Moldova in second at 49 percent.

The relatively small rise in turnover in the rest of Europe – smaller than the 14 percent in 2019 – was attributed to the pandemic, especially in plummeting tourism numbers and hotel and short-term rental bookings.

The big jump in Greece wasn't just because of using the Internet to get goods from stores which shoppers otherwise would visit but getting more of what they want from e-stores not designed for in-house shopping, the survey found.

While the rate of internet users rose just three percentage points, from 76 to 79 percent in 2020, the share of those making online purchases jumped 19.67 percent, to 59 percent, up from 51 percent in 2019, the paper reported.

While the growth trend is expected to continue in 2021, if slower because people can now go to stores with health restrictions allegedly in place, the use of the Internet and online shopping is expected to keep dominating the market.

The report by the group that's made up of the federation of national online retailers and the confederation of European retailers and wholesalers sees Internet penetration hitting 82 percent this year and online shopping at 63 percent.

Some 19 percent of Greeks who shop online said that they made one or two online purchases per quarter in 2020,  and 15 percent said they shopped online three to five times within three months and another 15 percent said they made at least six purchases.

The trend is expected to also see e-stores growing by some 30 percent in Greece for ease of use and with more people deciding to make use of their time other than going to stores to get goods, including groceries and other supplies.