Travel and clothing websites help e-commerce expand

Online commerce is growing in Greece but the rate is still trailing the European Union average, according to the annual survey conducted by the Electronic Commerce Laboratory at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB).

The survey found that online buying is rapidly expanding here as consumers become more familiar with information technology, find commodities at lower prices and realize the greater convenience that remote shopping entails.

Compared with 2011, e-commerce transactions between consumers and enterprises in Greece have increased by between 25 and 60 percent in 2012, depending on assessment criteria.

The number of online buyers came to 1.9 million, up from 1.5 million in 2011. Each buyer spent an average of 1,600 euros this year, compared with 1,200 in 2011. The average number of purchases per buyer came to 20 in 2012, compared with 15 last year, while the total amount spent on online purchases soared from 1.8 billion euros in 2011 to 2.9 billion in 2012, posting a 61 percent increase, data show.

Despite this spectacular rise in electronic commerce, Greece is still a laggard among Western European countries. AUEB professor George Doukidis states that the EU average would mean annual online sales in Greece of over 5 billion euros. “We expect a rise in online purchases in the coming years, at least until they catch up with the EU average,” he says. Greece’s sluggishness in catching up with its peers is attributed to the low number of online buyers compared with elsewhere in the EU, as those who do buy online spend as much as other Europeans on average.

Sales of travel services in Greece play a significant role in the expansion of e-commerce. This year just four travel websites (,, and will achieve transactions of 500 million euros between them. Clothing sales are also on the rise, as consumers find well-known brands at lower prices, Doukidis says.

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