Over 70,000 online purchases a day are made in Estonia

Tiina Soosalu
Tiina Soosalu
Eesti Pank Payment and Settlement Systems Department

An average of one million domestic payments were made each day in the first quarter of 2016 in Estonia, with a total value of 352 million euros. The number of payments was 5.3% higher than in the first quarter of last year, but the turnover was 4.7% smaller. About 64% of all domestic payments are made by card at the point of sale. As card payments are used for small sums however, they account for only 3% of the total turnover.

There has been a notable increase recently in the number of online purchases made using a bank link or a bank card1. Bank links were used 49,000 times a day to make payments in the first quarter of 2016. Eesti Pank has been collecting statistics on the use of bank links since 2012, when they were used for 30,000 purchases a day. Bank links can only be used for purchases from Estonian online stores, of which the Estonian E-Commerce Association estimates there are around 2000. It is also possible to pay by bank card in many online stores, but only 1000 card purchases are made each day in Estonian online stores, which is many fewer than the number of purchases by bank link.

Purchases from foreign merchants by bank card were made an average of 20,000 times a day in the first quarter of 2016, which is three times as much as in 2012.

The average payment by bank link was for 51 euros in the first quarter of 2016, and the average online card payment was for 49 euros. Card purchases in Estonian internet stores averaged 66 euros, which is notably more than the average bank link payment. There is also a difference in the size of payments made with debit and credit cards, as the average debit card payment was 43 euros and the average credit card payment 59 euros.

Online transactions in Q1 2016 (daily averages)
  number of payments (thousand) turnover (thousand euros) average purchase (euros)
Total 71 3 525 50
purchases from Estonian online stores 50 2 546 51

of which by bank link

49 2 487 51

of which by bank card

1 59 66
purchases from foreign online stores by bank card 20 979 48

The rapid growth in online shopping is also reflected in the data from Statistics Estonia. The number of retail merchants was 3% higher in 2015 than a year earlier, but the turnover of companies whose main business is retail by post or online increased by 35%. Their turnover still remained small as a share of total retail turnover at 2.6% in 2015, up from 2% the previous year. The most active online shoppers in the European Union are to be found in the United Kingdom, where internet purchases are estimated at 15% of total retail turnover. Estonian residents are also active users of internet stores from the United Kingdom, making 9000 purchases a day from them. This is around 40% of all the online purchases made by Estonian residents from foreign countries.

Data from Statistics Estonia show online purchases are used most for travel and accommodation services, concert, cinema and theatre tickets, and clothes and sporting goods. Online purchases were made by 568,000 people in 2015, which is two and a half times as many as in 2012, and 59% of people aged 16–74 have made purchases over the internet.

1 Purchases from online merchants can often be made using other means of payment besides bank links and bank cards, such as pre-payments to merchants or third-party payment solutions, but these transactions are not identified separately in the Eesti Pank statistics.

Statistics for Eesti Pank's payment and settlement systems

Eesti Pank will publish its next statement on payments on 26 June 2016.

For further information:
Ingrid Mitt
Public Relations Office
Tel: +372 668 0965, +372 512 6843
Email: ingrid.mitt [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries: press [at] eestipank.ee