The number of e-commerce purchases in the second quarter was almost 25% higher than a year ago

Tiina Soosalu
Eesti Pank Payment and Settlement Systems Department

Individuals in Estonia made an average of 1.1 million cashless payments per day in the second quarter of 2017. The number of payments was 7% and the turnover 8% higher than it was at the same time last year.

75% of the cashless payments initiated by individuals were card payments. 819,000 card payments were made daily in the second quarter, 7% of them outside Estonia. Estonian residents used card payments in 184 countries in the second quarter, the most popular being Finland, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Spain and the UK. People in Estonia are some of the greatest lovers of card payments in Europe, only surpassed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the UK. The average size of a card payment made by an individual in Estonia was 15.4 euros in the second quarter, which is one of the smallest in Europe, probably because Estonia has not set a floor for the size of a card payment. Card payments made abroad were larger and averaged at 26.8 euros.

The daily average number of payment orders made by individuals in the second quarter was 250,000. Half of them were payments through an internet bank, and the other half were e-invoice standing orders and payment orders through a bank link. The number of e-invoice standing orders has not changed since the changeover from direct debits. In 2013, before the changeover to e-invoice standing orders, the average number of direct debits was 54,000 per day. By the second quarter of 2017, it had remained almost the same at 53,000 payments per day. Most payment orders are domestic, only 0.6% are made to foreign banks.

Figures illustrating the use of online stores stand out among other payment methods. Compared to the same time last year, the number of payment orders made through a bank link* has grown by more than 10% (it is now 50,000 payments per day). A bank link can only be used for domestic purchases. Estonian residents are becoming progressively more active in purchasing from foreign online stores. In the second quarter, individuals made 28,000 e-commerce card transactions every day, which is a 46% increase year-on-year. 91% of online purchases made with a card come from foreign online stores. Data from Omniva and Statistics Estonia confirm that Estonian people are ordering online more and more. Statistics Estonia data also show that in April and May, the sales revenue of stores that sell online or by post grew the most, 30% in a year, compared to the 6% sales revenue increase of retail stores. The largest retail chains in Estonia attest to the fact that e-commerce is growing fast, and most chains have opened or are planning to open their online store soon.

* A bank link is a payment method where an online store directs the customer to pay for a purchase in their internet bank using a pre-filled order.

Cashless payments initiated by individuals through Estonian banks in 2017 Q2 (daily average)
  number of payments (thousands) incl. cross-border payments turnover of payments (million euros) incl. cross-border payments
Total of the payments made (A+B+F+G) 1 100 7% 45,7 9%
         incl. card payments (A) 819 7% 13,2 11%
         incl. payment orders (B) 250 1% 30,3 7%
                 internet bank payment orders  (C) 123 1% 17,9 7%
                 e-invoice standing orders (D) 53 0% 1,6 0%
                 bank link payment orders (E) 50 0% 1,4 0%
         incl. e-commerce card transactions (F) 28 91% 1,0 93%
         incl. other (G) 3 0% 1,2 0%
E-commerce transactions (E+F) 78 33% 2,4 38%


Number of cashless payments made by individuals

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Viljar Rääsk
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