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Nearly 2pc of Romanians ordered goods and services on line in 2009Updated: 08-04-2010 | Business

More than one third of Europeans ordered goods and services on line in 2009, but there are significant differences between the EU27 member states, with the percentage of such acquisitions varying between 2 percent in Romania and 66 percent in the UK, according to the spring edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard - Consumers at Home in the Internal Market Monitoring the integration of the retail Internal Market and Benchmarking the Consumer Environment in Member States, released by the European Commission.

The most popular online purchase is travel and accommodation. Approximately one fifth of EU consumers purchased travel and holiday accommodation online in 2009; 17 percent ordered clothes and sports goods; 13 purchased household goods (for example furniture or toys) and tickets for events, respectively. Films and music, as well as books, magazines and newspapers are popular purchases, with 12 percent of consumers having ordered these product categories on line.

Overall, the three most important considerations for shopping on line relate to the certainty about legal rights and guarantees, lower prices, and user-friendliness of websites. Between 84 percent and 81 percent of consumers said that these arguments are 'very important' or important 'to some extent' when ordering goods or services.

The following aspects are deemed very important: lower prices (50 percent), certainty about legal rights (49 percent), and convenience (48 percent). In addition, a wider choice of goods and services, and the fact that the good is unavailable in the area or region are very important reasons for shopping online (respectively 39 percent and 45 percent).

Consumers in Romania, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Denmark, Latvia, Greece, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Cyprus, and Malta were able to find one cross-border offer that was at least 10 percent cheaper than the best domestic offer, for at least half of all the products that consumers searched for on the Internet.

Internet is the channel which generates the largest share of distance sales. Overall, Internet sales have seen a continuous growth in the past five years, in line with the growing popularity of this new sales channel and with increasing access to Internet, which, in 2009, was available to around two thirds of EU households.

The Consumer Markets Scoreboard is a tool to identify where the internal market is not functioning well for consumers, and where intervention may be needed. Starting with 2010, the Consumer Markets Scoreboard is published twice a year. The spring edition is focused on tracking the integration of the retail internal market and on benchmarking national consumer environments.

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