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Daily Dutch News in English

Dutch online shopping up 42 percent on St Nicholas

The continuing crisis in the Netherlands has little impact on the online St Nicholas orders, according to a joint study by, PostNL and Blauw Research on St Nicholas purchases. This year, online retailers expect an average revenue of €128 million for the week, €38 million (42%) more than in the period before St Nicholas. Additionally, parcels received increased by 41% during the St Nicholas period.

By all appearances, Dutch webshops benefit from the consumers’ confidence in online shopping. Online retailers expect a substantial higher turnover this year in the month before St Nicholas than in 2011, when webshops were expecting 36% additional turnover. All despite the fact that 27% of the Dutch consumers indicate they would make fewer St Nicholas purchases compared to last year, and 25% of the respondents even say they will not be making any St Nicholas purchases at all this year.

Wijnand Jongen, director
‘It is remarkable that despite the continuing crisis St Nicholas has found his way to the webshops so explicitly, even more so than last year. Webshops are doing quite well during the St Nicholas period. At webshops, he can order 24 hours per day, which gives him the opportunity to work on during the night. St Nicholas also feels drawn to the special offers webshops provide in these harsh economic times. These benefits contribute to the extra online spending during the St Nicholas period.’

Convenience most important
The major reasons for making purchases online in the St Nicholas period are that it saves time (37%), the possibility of ordering online 24/7 (37%) and the price level of products on the Internet (31%). Avoiding the bustle in the city centre and being able to buy St Nicholas presents from the comfort of the consumer’s home (25%) is another important reason to use the Internet. On top of that, ordering via the tablet and mobile and the fast delivery also contribute to the further growth of the online holiday season purchases.

‘It is clear that time and money are even more important reasons for shopping online in these busy and expensive times. Even more than in the rest of the year,’ says Gerrit Mastenbroek, director PostNL Parcels. ‘Besides, there is a strong 41% increase in parcel volume in the St Nicholas period, which is in line with the extra revenues from webshops. This means that the Dutch consumer is getting more aware of the convenience online shopping has to offer. We are developing ourselves continuously to service the needs of our consumer better and better and make online shopping easier.’

Tablet at the top of online wish list
Although in general, the St Nicholas purchases in traditional shops still exceed the online purchases, there is a clear trend towards online shopping. This year, 32% of the Dutch consumers buy more St Nicholas presents in webshops than they did last year. The online St Nicholas purchases are mainly done in the last two weekends before 5 December. As in other years, the online St Nicholas primarily buys consumer electronics and toys. This year, especially the tablet and smartphone are popular presents, in both the expensive and the cheaper segments. Traditional toys and games are also selling well. The following products are populair St Nicholas gifts:

  • Tablets (Apple & Android)
  • LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Friends
  • Skylanders game and separate action figures
  • Playmobile
  • Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy SIII
  • Monopoly Millionaire
  • PS3 game: FIFA 13

About the study
The study into consumer behaviour with respect to St Nicholas purchases was executed by PanelWizard Direct by order of PostNL. The study into webshop turnover and the type of products bought online was performed by research agency Blauw Research by order of among the almost 1,700 members of the association. Service suppliers, such as providers of insurances, travels, tickets and food, were left aside in the study. Finally, the data on parcel volumes in the St Nicholas period is from PostNL itself.

Follow-up study Blauw Research has ordered Blauw Research to perform an additional study by the end of December into extra selling in the weeks before Christmas. The results of this study will be published at the end of December.