Internet Use, E-shoppers and Digital Skills

Effective internet use and strong digital skills are essential prerequisites for successful e-commerce operations. Data about internet use, online purchases of e-shoppers, and digital skills in CEFTA markets is presented in the charts below.

As for the e-shopers, Eurostat data is employed to reveal the online shopping behavior of citizens in CEFTA markets. The last available data is 2023, but not for all markets, so the latest data are included. In this analysis included countries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia (Moldova is not included in the database).

Source: Eurostat
Data for Albania is from the National Statistical Office Source: Albanian Statistical Institute (INSTAT), and for Kosovo is from the State Statistical Office, from 2020.

In the last 3 months, a percentage of individuals is presented from the Eurostat database (2023), and Kosovo* shows internet usage of 90.2% (data from 2020) of the individuals ranked as the most developed country in Europe.

The most developed is Serbia with 64.2% of internet users who made an online purchase in the last year. Serbia is followed by North Macedonia, Kosovo* (data from 2022), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro (32.1%).

Source: Eurostat (Internet use in the last 3 months. The reference period – in general, it is the first quarter of the year – the period of 3 months prior to the survey), *Data is from the National statistical offices Source: Albanian Statistical Institute (INSTAT), State Statistical Office, Kosovo* from 2020

When it comes to frequency of online purchases, citizens in CEFTA countries made mostly 1 or 2 times in the last three months, particularly North Macedonia. More frequently or 3 to 5 times online purchases in the last 3 months made citizens of Kosovo. 6 to 10 times the percentage of individuals who used the internet within the last year mostly were buying online Internet users in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Source: Eurostat 2023 Albania and North Macedonia data from 2021, Kosovo from 2020

Citizens in CEFTA markets mostly make online orders of less than 50 euros. Among CEFTA markets, the e-shoppers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have the highest share of shoppers that make online orders between 100 and 499 euros, compared to the other markets.

Online purchases (3 months) for between 500 and 999 euro as a percentage of individuals who purchased online in the last 3 months are minor in CEFTA countries.

Source: Eurostat data from 2021

Online purchases(3 months) are mostly made from national sellers particularly in Kosovo almost all or 98 %.From sellers from other EU countries, the highest percentage of individuals who purchased online in the last 3 months is done in Montenegro.

Source: Eurostat(Online purchases(3 months) as Percentage of individuals who purchased online in the last 3 months), only Kosovo * (2020)

Data for Albania: Albanian Statistical Institute(INSTAT), North Macedonia: State Statistical Office

In addition to internet penetration and usage, having digital proficiency is crucial for online shopping. The Internet user skills indicators encompass five key areas of digital proficiency: information and data literacy skills, communication and collaboration skills, digital content creation skills, safety skills, and problem-solving skills. To be considered to possess basic or above overall digital skills, individuals must demonstrate competency in all five component indicators at a basic or above basic level. The methodology used to calculate these indicators was revised in 2021, rendering them incomparable to previous years. Additionally, data for Kosovo* regarding Internet user skills is from 2019 and may not align fully with other Western Balkan economies.

The possession of basic or above basic digital skills among individuals in Western Balkan markets in 2023 lags far behind that of the EU (27), which stands at 55.6%. Montenegro leads with the highest percentage at 51.02%, followed by Serbia with 33.6%, while Albania has the lowest at 24%..

Source: Eurostat database 2023, data for Albania, North Macedonia 2021, and Kosovo* 2019

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.