Online shopping puts many shoppers in debt

Online shopping puts many shoppers in debt

DThe trend towards online shopping, which has been intensified by the corona pandemic, has a negative side: many buyers get into debt, especially women and young people. 28 percent of the approximately 575,000 people who sought help from a debt advice center in 2021 had outstanding invoices from online and mail order companies. That shared that Federal Statistical Office on Thursday with The proportion has increased by three percentage points within five years: in 2016 it was still 25 percent of a total of around 617,000 people advised.

The debts that the over-indebted individuals owed to online and mail order creditors amounted to an average of EUR 587. However, this corresponded to just under 2 percent of the total average liabilities of all over-indebted people of 31,087 euros. In 2016, the debt burden was 510 euros.

Internet shopping is widespread in Germany: 81 percent of 16 to 74 year olds have ordered goods or services over the Internet. There are only minor differences between the sexes: While 82 percent of men were online buyers, the proportion of women was 80 percent.

However, over-indebted women usually owe more and more money to online and mail-order companies. Almost 35 percent of the women who sought the help of a debt counseling center in 2021 had payment arrears with online and mail order companies. For men, the proportion was 23 percent. The average debt burden is also significantly higher for women at EUR 779 than for men (EUR 425).

Younger buyers order particularly often by mouse click. They are also more likely to have outstanding debts. 38 percent of the 20 to 24-year-olds who received advice have debts with companies in the industry. The percentage decreases continuously with increasing age: while 34 percent of the 25 to 34 year olds still had payment arrears, the percentage for the 55 to 64 year olds was 21 percent.

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