Malta flag Malta: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Malta


Internet access
By the end of 2017, Malta had a population of 432,089 people, out of which 360,056 were internet users, making the penetration rate 83.3 %. Despite being a small archipielago, Malta hosts a very advanced telecommunications network. Internet availability is widespread, with internet service providers such as Melita, Go and Vodafone offering multiple connectivity options, while both public and private sectors provide free internet access through several wi-fi hotspots. The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) manages more than 190 free wi-fi spots across Malta and Gonzo, including most public gardens. Compared to European countries, internet connectivity can be more expensive even though coverage is of high quality and there are no download limits. The highest level of the internet use was registered within the yougest share of the population, as 98.1% of people aged between 16 and 24 were connected, while those aged 65 to 74 recorded the lowest internet usage level (37.9%).  Males use the internet more than females, as 87% of men are online, as compared to 75% among women. As for how they go online, 75.8% of Internet users accessed the internet away from home or work using either phone network or a wifi connection on their mobile phone. In recent years, the Maltese government embarked on a drive to grow the IT sector, ensuring high standards of services throughout Malta and Gozo. E-Government, a service maintained by the Malta Information Technology Agency, is the way the Maltese government provides public information and services electronically to citizens and business. Mobile devices (smartphone and tablet) are growing in popularity among consumers for accesing the internet. 87% of internet users are active on social media. Facebook is the most popular with all age segments, used by 320,000 people (88%), followed by Instagram (29%), Linkedln (20%), WhatsApp (16%), Pinterest (15%), Google+(15%) and Twitter (15%). As of September 2018, the most popular search engines in the country by market share were Google (95.62%), bing (2.34%), Yahoo! (1.61%), and DuckDuckGo (0.21%). As for browsers, the most popular ones were Chrome (66.38%), Safari (19.17%), Firefox (3.44%), Edge (3.36%), Samsung Internet (2.58%), and IE (2.38%).
E-commerce market
E-commerce was slow to develop in Malta but it has evolved rapidly. According to the 2017 European Ecommerce Report, e-commerce sales were worth about EUR 39.6 million in 2017 (0.47% of GDP), which represented a growth rate of 15%. In 2014, the Government launched the Malta e-Commerce Digital Strategy, covering a seven year period until 2020 and aimed at ensuring that businesses have the necessary means and skills to capitalise on opportunities brought about by e-commerce. In 2017, 64% of Internet users have purchased goods or services online. Online buying is more popular with women than men, as 82% of female Internet users are e-shoppers, while 75% of male Internet users make purchses online. 80% of e-commerce users prefer to conclude their online purchases using a desktop or laptop computer. Paypal is the preferred method of payment (80%), followed by credit card (65%), debit card (16%) and cash on delivery (6%). 26% of digital buyers spend between EUR 500 and EUR 1500 in a year. Only 2% spend more than EUR 3000. While Maltese customers still prefer traditional shopping, microenterprises, SMEs and large businesses have realised the potential benefits of digital technologies. A study carried by the Malta Communications Authority shows that the internet is often the first resource for consumers wishing to gather information before making a purchase in-store or online, and 70% of internet users research products before buying them. Malta is the second best performing EU Member State for sales via electronic data interchange. Clothing and sporting goods are the most commonly acquired cross-border item category. The most popular countries among Maltese digital shoppers are the UK, followed by China and the United States. However, only a third of digital buyers purchase from domestic websites. The main reasons for not buying online from local websites are less competitive prices than those on foreign websites and limited choice of products. The top e-commerce Malta websites are (weddings), (tickets), (consumer electronics) and (clothing). Amazon remains the leading e-commerce platform, according to Enterprise Europe Network.

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Latest Update: May 2024

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