Research - 04.02.2013 - 00:00 

Internet defies shopping tourism

The turnover of Switzerland’s online trade increased to CHF 10.8bn last year – and this despite growing shopping tourism. This is the result of a study conducted by the IRM-HSG.


5 February 2013. Internet shopping remains very popular in all areas of the retail trade – primarily holiday travel (+5.1% online customers), flight tickets (+4.8%), music titles and films (+4.1% each) and computer hardware (+3.2%). “The Swiss online trade has reached a new growth stage,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Rudolph, Director of the Institute of Retail Management (IRM-HSG). “However, shopping patterns have evolved at a more leisurely pace than in the turbulent preceding years.”

Competition through shopping tourism
E-commerce has now definitely become part and parcel of daily shopping, the retail expert adds. “However, consumer reticence is now also manifesting itself in the online trade, in purchasing amounts that are registering only slight increases.” Competition for internet shopping is provided by shopping tourism: Online shoppers like to buy more favourably priced goods in shops beyond the borders.

In 2013, the strongest consumer trend will be in the mobile use of the internet. About 70% of consumers use mobile devices. This is a great increase in comparison with 2011, when the percentage of mobile internet users was still 44.1% The related constant access to information is leading to a situation whereby Swiss consumers increasingly focus their lives on the virtual world.

Internet becomes the centre of people’s lives
“For many consumers, the internet is their new habitat,” says Dr. Oliver Emrich, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Retail Management. One out of three consumers is online in order to better understand events in their everyday lives. One out of four uses the net to generate advantages for their lives. One out of five is of the opinion that the worldwide web helps them to be more strongly perceived by friends and acquaintances, and one out of seven regards their online presence as part of their personalities.

This change in social identity is accompanied by the danger of obsessive internet use. All other areas of life take second place. One out of six Swiss online users indicates that they find their “urge to be online” very difficult to control. This group makes use of the internet for three hours a day in their spare time. The average is two hours.

Inspiration in the net
A positive trend: More and more customers feel inspired by the internet. The most inspirational activities include watching videos, reading blogs and forums, being involved in the development of products and services and then buying them. The St.Gallen Internet Day on 19 March 2013 presents the most important online trends in Switzerland under the heading of Heimat Internet, i.e. “Homeland Internet”. The authors of the study will also deal with the question as to how the online trade can continue to make a contribution to Switzerland’s economic growth.

Photo: Photocase / Testfight

Discover our special topics