What Spaniards spend on the internet

Hotels and airline flights make up a third of all e-commerce purchases, new survey shows

The home page of online vacation site Booking.com
The home page of online vacation site Booking.com

When it comes to going on vacation, Spaniards are increasingly turning to the internet: travel-related purchases, such as tour packages, hotel bookings and flights, make up 34.2% of all online sales in Spain, according to the most recent report from the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CNMC).

The report, from the third quarter of 2014, shows that total online sales for the three-month period amounted to €4.1 billion, a 24.7% increase on the same period for 2013. In total, Spaniards made 58 million purchases.

Travel agencies and tour operators accounted for 18% of sales, followed by airline tickets (9.6%); books, records and newspapers (8.6%); direct marketing (5.2%); clothing (4.2%); and land transport (4.1%).

Travel agencies and tour operators accounted for 18% of sales, followed by airline tickets, books, records and newspapers

Some 60 percent of earnings generated by e-commerce corresponds to Spanish online stores, both in terms of purchases made from abroad or within Spain. Purchases within Spain from Spanish sites makes up 40 percent of all e-commerce.

In terms of the number of transactions – 58 million in the third quarter – books, music and newspapers accounted for 8.6%, followed by direct marketing (6.4%), travel agencies and tour operators (5.5%), downloads of applications, content and other services (5.1%), advertising (5%), clothing (4.8%), casino and other betting games (4.6%), and tickets for shows (4.3%).

Spain’s trade imbalance is reflected in e-commerce: a €922.7 million deficit (i.e. the difference between what is purchased abroad on Spanish sites compared to what is bought from Spain abroad). In terms of transactions, 44.5 percent of sales are from Spanish websites, and the remainder from sites in other countries.

The EU is Spain’s biggest market, both in terms of sales and purchases. Almost 90 percent of sales outside the country were within the bloc, followed by the United States, at 4.3 percent. Similarly, 74 percent of sales from outside the country came from within the EU.

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