Online shopping is becoming more and more popular. In the year 2007 the number of Germans ordering goods or services over the internet amounted to 41%. In 2006 this percentage was 38%. Thus, in this respect Germany ranks 4th in the EU. This was announced by the German Association of Information Management, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM).
The online shopping leader is Great Britain with 44%, followed by Denmark and the Netherlands with 43% each. In South and Eastern Europe, however, online shopping is less popular. Thus, the percentages for Spain and Portugal were just 13 and 6% respectively, for Poland and Estonia 11 and 6% respectively and for Rumania and Bulgaria even just 2% each.
With regard to private individuals there is a distinct correlation between the kind of internet access available and the propensity to buy online: if those interviewed had broad band internet access, then the percentage of online shoppers in Germany increased to 57%.
In view of the strong popularity of e-commerce in Germany BITKOM calls for an optimization of the legal framework. According to BITKOM, for instance, smaller online traders urgently need practice-oriented and legally binding guidelines on how to inform clients about their right to cancel a contract. In the German law these rules were extremely complex and difficult to enforce.
Furthermore BITKOM holds the opinion that the new version of such guidelines proposed by the Federal ministry for justice is inadequate. This version is four DIN A4 pages long. Nobody would in real life read such long guidelines and when orders were made via mobile phone the guidelines could not really be displayed on small mobile phone displays.