Österreich liegt im e-Commerce zurück

Die europäische Statistikbehörde Eurostat hat Zahlen zum e-Commerce 2012 in der EU veröffentlicht. Was für mich klar daraus hervorgeht: Österreich hinkt im Online-Handel hinterher.

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Zahlen der Eurostat

Ein paar Fakten, die dank Marcello Buzzanca in Roman Zenners Blog zu finden sind:

  • Österreich ist EU27-Schlusslicht, was den Anteil des Online-Geschäfts am Gesamtumsatz betrifft.
  • Die österreichischen Kunden geben die Hälfte des Geldes im Ausland aus.
  • 48% der Österreicher haben über das Internet eingekauft. Das liegt nur knapp über dem EU-Schnitt. In Deutschland sind es 65 Prozent, in Norwegen 76 Prozent.
  • Über das Internet verkauft haben 12 Prozent der Österreicher. Damit liegen wir am Ende der Tabelle, gemeinsam mit der Slowakei.
  • In einer gezeigten Statistik sind wir gut dabei: dem Anteil der Unternehmen mit Einkäufen über das Internet.

Der Artikel ist ein interessanter Einblick in den europäischen E-Commerce.

e-Commerce in Österreich

Ich als Entwickler kann für Österreich wenig mit Zahlen, sondern vor allem mit meinem Bauchgefühl dienen. Dass das kein besonders gutes war, habe ich schon Ende 2012 schriftlich festgehalten. Da schrieb ich für aheadWorks einen Gastbeitrag über e-Commerce in Österreich.

Doch wer meinen Blog kennt, weiß: ich schreibe manchmal laaaange Artikel. Zu lange. So geschehen bei obigem Gastbeitrag. Deswegen wurde der Text gekürzt (was ich absolut verstehe). Vieles von dem, was ich mir damals zusammen geschrieben habe, ist nie in die Welt gelangt (was ich ein wenig schade fand).

Der Beitrag von Marcello hat mich dazu ermuntert, den Text aus meinem Archiv herauszukramen und den Rest des Artikels  zu veröffentlichen. 🙂 Hier ist er: „e-Commerce and Magento in Austria, part 2“. Geschrieben im Dezember 2012 und auf Englisch. Die Rückübersetzung erspare ich mir.

A little bit about Austria

To this day, you may not have heard much about Austria.

While traveling, I learned that people usually know five things about Austria: we have classical music (Mozart anyone?), beautiful old buildings, we are situated somewhere in Europe, we were part of the dark era that was World War II and we have Arnold Schwarzenegger. While all of this is true and part of us, it doesn’t describe Austria properly. It’s cliché. I’ll bet you know that situation from your own home country.

So what is Austria?

As e-commerce doesn’t happen in isolation but is part of the society it is happening in, I think it is important to tell you a little bit about Austria before I enter the e-commerce part. I don’t want to bore you with all the small details, but you may want to know something about our population, economics and technology use to get a feeling for the market. If you don’t want to know (or if you don’t like it when somebody throws a lot of numbers at you), just skip the following sections and continue with „What this means for Austrian e-commerce“.

I linked to some of the resource. Unfortunately, most of them are only available in German. Feel free to contact me if you want to know some specifics and I’ll try to help out.


Austria is located in the center of Europe, being a link between the culture of the „Western“ (think Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, …) and „Eastern“ European countries (think Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, …). We are the link in a historical, cultural and geographical fashion, making Austria kind of a melting pot.

Our population is 8.4 million people of which 11.5% are „foreign residents“ (which means that these persons do live and work here but don’t have an Austrian citizenship) and 18.9% do have a migration background. The big majority is coming from Germany and the eastern countries, shaping and adding to our culture and society.

The count of our population is still rising, mainly due to immigration. For comparison: in 1990, 4% of the population had been immigrants. In the following five years, the number rose to 8% mainly because of the wars in ex-Yugoslavia, followed by a phase of stagnation until 2000. Since then, the share of immigrants started to rise again at an increasing rate without a sign of slowing down. This does mean we’ll get even more multi-cultural and learn to deal with the opportunities and problems that arise from this.

In general the population is getting older, meaning that only 20% of us are aged between 0 and 19 while already more than a quarter of our population is older than 65. Since 1994, the number of children and adolescents has declined without exceptions. Also since 1994, the number of the generation 65+ has increased without exceptions. With healthcare getting better and better and the trend towards small families, don’t expect this to change anytime soon.


We Austrians always like to complain a little bit. It’s a part of us, just like the Terminator. But I refer to this as „complaining on a high level“. If we are honest, we are doing pretty well despite the economic crisis.

There are many ways to measure prosperity and wealth, none of them telling the whole truth. Nonetheless, you can find Austria between position 10 and 16 worldwide in the rankings I know. Our capital city Vienna has been told to be one of the most livable cities in the world repeatedly. Just this month, Vienna accomplished rank #1 in the Quality of Living ranking by Mercer. I’m not telling this to brag about it. It’s just that when you talk to Austrian people you may get a different impression.

Looking at the three sectors of the economy, we get a pretty typical picture for a service economy: the primary sector (agriculture etc.) is very small, contributing 2% to the gross national product, while the secondary sector (industrial sector) generates 33% and the tertiary sector (service sector) earns about 65%.

Austrias industry is said to be very modern and dynamic. Some of the better-known companies are Red Bull (energy drinks), Swarovski (jewelry), OMV (oil), AT&S (circuit-board manufacturer), Voestalpine or Böhler-Uddeholm (steel producers). They all are among the world leaders in their specific segment.

The growth of economy was 2.7% in 2011 which is quite above the average 1.5% of the European Union. At the same time, the public debt amounts to 72.2% of the gross national product which is beneath the EU average of 82.5%.

And what about the people living here? The unemployment rate is 4.2% (EU: 9.7). As for the compensation per employee (gross salary and employers‘ share): while the EU average is 33.000 Euro, in Austria you can expect 41.300 Euro.

Technology use

Austrians are quite heavy media users. And of course the usage is increasing every single year. Let’s have a look at this as the media are some of the most important links between customers and merchants.


In 2011, about two thirds of the population aged 12 and above watched TV daily. In average, we are watching programs for 2 hours 47 minutes a day. This sounds like a lot (and actually, it is) but other countries are far ahead. The people in Germany for example are using the TV a staggering 225 minutes a day, one hour longer than we do.

At the end of 2011, two thirds of all households did have flatscreen TVs. More than a third of the TVs have full HD resolution. That’s remarkable as only the public TV stations offer HD in Austria. You can get German, English and other channels in HD, too, so that’s not a big problem, but it’s just one more sign that the Austrian TV landscape is no pioneer when it comes to TV trends.


Another 200 minutes a day, Austrians are listening to the radio. But not only that: four-fifths of the population are turning on their radio daily which means that people are way more exposed to the radio than they are to the TV.

World Wide Web

Let us turn our heads to internet usage. Of all Austrians aged 14 and older, 83% do own a PC nowadays. Since 2005, we see a strong rise in mobile devices (laptops, netbooks and tablets). In the year 2010, the share of mobile devices surpassed the desktop PCs. At the end of 2011, only 56% had a desktop PC while 68% own a mobile PC (including tablets). Please also note that all this numbers do not include mobile phones. I’ll talk about them in a moment.

Well this is their equipment, but what about the usage? 86% of Austrian people have access to the internet and 4 of 5 Austrians do access the WWW in fact. About 71% of all Austrians use the web regularily and 57% are online every day. In average, the users are online 103 minutes a day. The trend is slowing down, but the typical online user is still transforming from the early adopter stereotype (young highly educated males) to mainstream. About half of the surfers are women (46%). Almost one-third is more than 50 years old (29%) and 7 of 10 users don’t have a school leaving examination nowadays.


One-fifth of the users went online mobile in 2011. By the second quarter of 2012, this number went up to one-fourth. Remember the numbers on laptops, tablets and netbooks in the last paragraph? In 2005, only about 25% had a laptop. In 2011, more than two-thirds of the population own a mobile device. You can imagine that mobile is a trend taking off right now.

You may wonder that these numbers (especially about the usage) are not very high. But to my knowledge the numbers above don’t include mobile phones.

You could say that we Austrians are into mobile phones. In Q1 2012, there are around 13 million activated SIM cards. Oversimplifying it you could say that every Austrian from the newborn child to the great-grandparent has 1.56 mobile phones, tablets or similar with the potential to get an online connection. This is in part because we had a fairly small population with many strong mobile network operators fighting for them. The market has consolidated in the last few years but we still get mobile internet, calls and short messages pretty cheap.

So if you add phones to the mix, the picture of mobile usage changes. According to two new studies from 2012, 56% respectively 64% of Austrians between 16 and 74 years go online mobile. 80% of the new customers buy smartphones. Also, one in five is owning a tablet already. As I stated before, the number of desktop PCs is declining and I’m guessing that there is no reason this will change soon.

What this means for Austrian e-commerce

If we tie this information together with some additional data and personal impressions, what does it mean for Austrian e-commerce?

  • Trends that you do see popping up in the US will take several years to become trends in Austria. My feeling is that depending in some fields there is a difference of up to 3 years, especially in the area of business models and logistics.
  • If you see that something is getting popular in Germany, you hit the first wave if you implement it in the next 12 months.
  • You are selling to a versatile society. There are quite some differences, not only because of age or social classes but also because of culture and the cultural background of the people.
  • The elderly population is becoming more and more important. There share of the population is growing at a fast pace, they do have money and want to spend it (at least up to a certain age). Technology isn’t restricted to people aged below 65: the so-called „silver surfers“ get computer literated more and more.
  • People do shop online. Approximately 50% of the Austrian aged between 16 and 74 did shop online in the last 12 months. Narrow the group down to the 25- to 34-old-ones and you get 71%. Among the most popular products you can find clothing and sports products, vacation bookings, reading materials like books and magazines or event tickets.
  • The young ones are all about mobile internet. Have a look on the street: so many of them are staring at their smartphones in every spare minute. You could say that the smartphone is becoming the replacement for the cigarette when you are waiting for the train or your friends.
  • People do shop online mobile. According to numbers from Google, smartphone penetration in Austria rose from 21% in 2011 to 36% in 2012. Of those, 24% have purchased using their device and many more bought on PC or offline after they researched on their phone. The numbers are not as high yet as in the US, but you can bet there will be a strong increase in the next two years. I know of a few Austrian brands which are much closer to the American figures. Austrian shops have some gaps to fill both in mobile and especially tablet optimisation.
  • The count of online shops is increasing. But there is still a lot of potential left: in 2011, 11.5% of the companies having 10 employees or more generated sales using onlineshops / websites. This equals to a little bit more than 4.100 webshops. Of course there are also shops by even smaller companies or one of the more than 240,000 one-person businesses.

(Amk: „Magento in Austria“, „Magento regular’s table in Vienna“ und „Conclusion“ haben fast komplett überlebt, deswegen lasse ich die Kapitel hier aus. ;-))

Warum ist der österreichische E-Commerce, wie er ist?

Ganz ehrlich: warum hinken wir hinterher? Ich weiß es nicht. Ihre Meinung interessiert mich.

Der Österreicher an sich ist nicht das sprunghafteste Wesen und dem Neuen nicht immer aufgeschlossen, doch reicht das als Grund? Oder liegt der Hase woanders begraben?

4 Antworten

  1. Michael sagt:

    Hallo Matthias,
    gibt es eine Möglichkeit Bearbeitungsgebühr hinzufügen abhängig von der Artikelanzahl in Warenkorb und Zahlungsart ?

    Eine Lösung habe ich gefunden, aber da habe ich leider wenig Erfahrung.


    Vielen Dank im Voraus


    • admin sagt:

      Hallo Michael, dazu fällt mir spontan keine Extension ein, die das für jede Zahlungsart lösen kann. Bei bestimmten Zahlart-Extensions könnte die Funktionalität vorhanden sein.

  2. Jan sagt:

    Hallo Matthias,

    das ist ein wirklich sehr schöner Artikel! Ich frage mich immer wieder, wo im Online-Kaufverhalten die Unterschiede zwischen Deutschland und Österreich sind. Vielleicht hast Du da ja noch ein paar Tipps.

    Viele Grüße, Jan