During the pandemic, people were forced to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities, but now there are no such external circumstances. However, statistical data suggests that more and more people are shopping online, said the president of the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association, Signe Bāliņa.
“In 2019, nearly 30% of Internet users had never made purchases or orders on the Internet, but last year they were 23%,” Bāliņa said.
In total, in 2022, a total of 70% of Latvia's population had made purchases on the Internet.
Data show that although the volume of e-commerce in Latvia has been growing rapidly in the last three years, the pace has started to slow slightly in the last three months.
The fact that e-commerce growth is slowing down somewhat was also confirmed by the digital marketing manager Artūrs Mednis, head of the New Black agency.
“If we are talking about e-commerce in Latvia, I would even draw parallels more broadly – in Eastern Europe, then the abnormally rapid growth rates have abated somewhat if we talk about the whole sector as a whole. That doesn't mean growth isn't happening. Still happening, but much less than it was in 2021,” Mednis said.
“If we are talking on average about all sectors [of e-commerce in 2020], then in Eastern Europe it was a 95% increase or almost twice the increase against 2020. The growth is very high if on average the world has a growth [in e-commerce] of 8%-9% on an annual basis. But it should be noted it varies between sectors,” Mednis said.
One of the areas of e-commerce that have seen significant increases since the pandemic is food delivery.
“It had an unnaturally large increase in 2021, and maybe some even continued in 2022. Of course not all, but some people go back to normal, but if one has tried e-commerce and has seen the benefits of it, they continue to do so,” Mednis said.
All experts surveyed by Latvian Radio agree – e-commerce is to stay. However, while demand for Internet purchases is still high, companies cannot rely on pandemic-time success.