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20 million online shoppers PDF Print E-mail
Written by GFK   
09 Apr 2003

20 million online shoppers

Latest findings of the Online Shopping Survey (OSS)

Wiesbaden/Munich, 10 April 2003 - Around 20 million Germans, i.e. more than one in three, have made at least one online purchase in the last twelve months. As many as one in five people are regular online shoppers. The most frequently ordered items are books, clothing, CDs, tickets for the theatre, cinema and concerts, computer software and computer games.

Over a fifth of the population aged between 14 and 69 makes regular Internet purchases, while a further 15 per cent shops online at least occasionally. Electronic retail is a real hit with consumers. Last year, Ebay was the largest online marketplace with more than 10 million customers, followed by Amazon with eight million. These were streets ahead of the next contenders, who all recorded between three and four million online shoppers -,, and

These are the findings of the Online Shopping Survey (OSS), a survey carried out by NFO Infratest and ENIGMA GfK. The survey investigates 29 product categories and service areas - from books (8.2 million online purchasers) and clothing (5.6 million) to larger furniture items (300,000) and cars (240,000).

40 per cent of Internet users who buy books (also) buy them online. Almost as high is the proportion of online shoppers in the following categories: air travel, hotels/motels, hire cars and computer software/computer games. These are the winners in the "channel shift", the trend of selling via the Internet.

More and more women are taking advantage of the benefits of online shopping, even though the majority of Internet users are still men. Clothing, food and toiletries/cosmetics in particular are bought by women online. Large e-tailers like MyToys,, and are benefiting from this trend, with a predominantly female customer base.

The survey

In February 2003, a total of 1,010 German Internet users aged between 14 and 69 were asked via telephone about Internet usage, the role of the Internet when it comes to shopping, online banking and the disadvantages of online shopping. This was for the Online Shopping Survey (OSS), which is carried out jointly by NFO Infratest and ENIGMA GfK. The full survey can be ordered from the contacts below at a price of EUR 5,000 net.


ENIGMA GfK is a market research specialist offering information services for TV, print, radio and the Internet. ENIGMA GfK is part of the GfK Group, which is ranked fifth among market research companies worldwide and provides services in its four business divisions, Consumer Tracking, Non-Food Tracking, Media and Ad Hoc Research. In addition to 16 German subsidiaries, the company has over 120 subsidiaries and affiliates located in 50 countries. Of a current total of around 4,900 employees, 1,450 are based in Germany. For further information, visit our website:

NFO Infratest

NFO Infratest is part of the NFO World Group, the third largest ad hoc research company worldwide, with 15,000 employees in 40 countries. In Germany, more than 600 employees provide clients from all industry and service sectors with research and advisory services. For further information, go to


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