The Global Rise of Digital Goods and Services

September 17, 2019


›› Nearly three quarters of online purchases are digital goods and services. Based on the findings of this study, Forrester estimates that approximately 74% of online purchases are digital goods and services, as opposed to physical.

›› Digital goods and service purchase rates differ substantially between regions and demographics. The digital goods and services market is not a singular entity. Our study found that there are vast differences in the digital goods and services that countries and demographics purchase regularly. For example, we found that:
1) Malaysians used ride sharing services more than five times more often than Germans in the past 12 months and consumers in India download by far the most music of any country we studied, but stream it the least.

›› Price, security, and lack of payment options are consumers’ biggest pain points and online retailers’ biggest challenge. When making online purchases of digital goods, consumers cite price, security, and availability of preferred payment options as their most important factors for purchase. Approximately 74% of consumers cited security as a key concern when purchasing digital goods. However, online merchants are consistently failing to meet these needs. Price, security, and availability of preferred payment options are also the three areas consumers cite where online retailers most often provide negative experiences.

›› After having a negative shopping experience, 57% will stop shopping at an online merchant/cancel a service entirely. The consequences of a negative experience has severe implications for online merchants. The majority of consumers will stop shopping at a digital store entirely or cancel a subscription, and almost half (47%) will leave a negative review or tell a friend about the bad experience.

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Digital Goods, Digital Services