eCommerce Buying Behaviours – April 2021

They say Knowledge Is Power… But whether true or not, at the very least it could keep you up to date with current trends and behaviours. 

The good guys at MCA (Malta Communications Authority) have been collecting data about internet usage and buying behaviours. They have released their findings in a document titled: “Insights into Buying Behaviour Attitudes – Internet & eCommerce Use by Consumers Survey 2021” to understand how consumers are behaving now and how they expect to behave going forward.


Throughout the survey, they found that 58% of people are choosing eCommerce to some degree when purchasing goods. The age demographic is perhaps the most significant statistic in this document that truly highlights a difference in consumer behaviour throughout a demographic. We can see that ≥83% Internet users under 44 years of age (over 3 age brackets) participate in eCommerce with eCommerce usage diminishing rapidly in the older age brackets. Perhaps a foreseeable pattern in general, but it’s still impressive to see such a clear drop-off in usage.

Frequency & Spending

From the entire sample of eCommerce users, an impressive 77% claimed to have purchased online within the past 3 months and 14% claimed to have purchased online more than 3 months ago but less than 6 months ago.

Of these 91% of eCommerce Users who purchased within the past 6 months, 44% of them spent between €51 and €100, 27% spent between €21 and €50 and 14% spent between €101 and €150. 

15% of eCommerce users purchase at least once a week, while 20% purchase between 2-3 times per month, 30% purchase once a month and 35% purchase less frequently. Meaning that 65% of eCommerce users will purchase a minimum of once per month.

Consumer Preferences

The survey listed the 13 most popular websites/platforms used by eCommerce users.  

8 were foreign and only 5 were local 

6 were marketplaces, 4 were supermarkets and 3 were high variety retail sites. 

Some good news for local sites was that while 87%  of eCommerce users purchased from the UK, 53% still purchased from local websites; which is a significant 22% increase over 4 years earlier.

59% of eCommerce users did however claim that they don’t really care if they purchase from a local or foreign website.

Consumer Attraction & Purchase Deciding Factor

The survey found the following results when asking what lead to completing an online purchase:  

  • 45% – after seeing an ONLINE Advert 
  • 42% – after discovering a product/store whilst browsing the internet 
  • 26% – after viewing an advert or post on social media 
  • 22% – after receiving email marketing 

All other marketing methods had between 4%-15% effectiveness.

Price is by far the biggest factor in decision making when it comes to purchasing online with 40% putting price as their main decision-making consideration. In second came Customer service with 18% of the results and in third came product variety with 10% of the results.


eCommerce users do still have some concerns however, with 34% still citing Security Breaches & online fraud to being a concern. 28% said that a lack of customer service was a concern for them and 18% said that difficulties with contacting retailers was a concern. 

People are also still slightly uncomfortable with providing their personal details.

Going Forward

76% of eCommerce users expect that they will keep buying online at the same rate as they are now, whereas 15% expect their reliance on eCommerce to increase and only 9% expect to decrease their use of eCommerce.


  • Overall, there is a high level of satisfaction among ecommerce users, both on local websites as well as on foreign websites.  
  • People are looking for a good deal and it doesn’t matter if it comes from a local shop or a foreign shop. 
  • Price remains the most important factor when deciding on making a purchase. 
  • Consumers are increasingly looking for convenience through marketplaces or multi-brand – multi-product platforms. 
  • Digital Marketing is by far the most effective form of marketing for an eCommerce business. 

Malta Virtual Mall

Not to boast… but we’ve noticed this trend towards eCommerce from a mile away and that’s why we created Malta Virtual Mall. We’re giving eCommerce shoppers visibility of a variety of shops that they’ve been craving for so long and also a means to find what they need online and locally through our search function. 

With an increase in traffic to the website, we’re also now in a position to offer high value advertising opportunities to eCommerce sites who wish to market their website directly to shoppers. Check out our Advertise with us page and get in touch to learn about the benefits of advertising with us and our rates.