Israelis top internet charts for online shopping

But most of their purchases are from foreign sites, notably those based in the US and China, eBay Israel study reveals

Elad Goldberg, CEO of eBay Israel, presents the results of the poll Sunday in Tel Aviv (Shlomi Mizrachi)
Elad Goldberg, CEO of eBay Israel, presents the results of the poll Sunday in Tel Aviv (Shlomi Mizrachi)

Israelis set the record in 2015 for online purchases, a study by eBay released Monday reveals. No fewer than 95% of Israelis who use Internet-connected computers at home or work, or who own smart devices, bought something on-line in 2015. That was more than the 91% polled in June 2014, the last time the study was conducted.

The study was conducted on behalf of the local branch of international shopping platform eBay by research firm Market Research & Consumer Behavior, based on a sample of 1,500 people in Israel from all backgrounds who used the Internet.

Israelis are the most connected shoppers in the world, according to data in the eBay Israel study that was compared to information about shoppers in other countries supplied by Internet shopping industry consulting firm eMarketer.

In Germany, 81% of connected computer and device users bought something online in 2015. In the US, the figure was 77%, in France 72%, and in Spain 62%. Fifty-four percent of Israelis who shopped online made a purchase an average of three or more times per month, and 33% bought one to three items per month, the eBay study showed. The rest were “occasional” buyers, who purchased between one and ten items online.

Much of that shopping is done not on Israeli sites, but on sites abroad. Recent changes in import duties allow Israelis to buy up to $75 of merchandise from online sites without taxes; purchases of between $75 and $500 are exempt from import duties, but subject to VAT (value-added tax) fees of 17%. Over 60% of Internet shopping is done from sites abroad, and over 60% of those purchases were made on sites in either the US or China. For women, the most popular online purchases were clothing, cosmetics, and jewelry, while for men, the preferred items were electronic devices and gadgets (70%), sporting goods/clothing (23%), and car parts (14%).

When asked why they shop online, most Israelis respond by pointing to the high cost of living. Two-thirds of shoppers say that buying from the internet helps them save money, as prices on fashion clothing and electronic devices tend to be lower abroad. That, the study said, is perhaps one reason local internet shopping hasn’t taken off the way it has in other countries; in the US, Germany, France, and the UK, over 60% of online shopping is done on domestic sites.

“In recent years we have seen changes in the online buying habits of Israelis,” said Elad Goldberg, CEO of eBay Israel. “Israeli consumers are important members of the online buying economy, and they are gaining the attention of some of the biggest online retailers in the world.”

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