Number of e-commerce users increased again, enterprises start to use artificial intelligence

Posted on 17 September 2021, 8:00

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2021, the biggest increase compared to the previous year occurred in people’s use of the internet for participating in online courses. The popularity of e-commerce also grew, with 62% of the population aged 16–74 having made online purchases. Among enterprises, the use of enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software continues to increase. Enterprises are also trying out AI technologies.

Epp Remmelg, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that the number of users of e-commerce increased by 9% year on year. “Considering the coronavirus-related restrictions, it is natural that the biggest growth was recorded in the online purchases of food and consumer goods, clothes, shoes and sports goods, and household goods. As could be expected, the biggest decrease occurred in the online purchases of tickets for various events and insurance policies. Also, there was a fall in the number of persons who made more expensive online purchases, while the share of persons spending less on online purchases increased,” noted Remmelg.

Number of users of e-commerce aged 16–74*, 2005–2021

Nearly 92% of households have an internet connection at home, and 83% of households have a fixed internet connection. The share of persons with access to the internet is the highest in Lääne county (97%), Tallinn city and Harju county (95%), and the lowest in Põlva county (84%).

91% of the population aged 16–74 use the internet, and 93% of internet users use it every day. The share of internet users is increasing most rapidly in older age groups: compared to 2020, the share of internet users among 65–74-year-olds grew by 17%.

The most common purposes of using the internet are e-mail (91%) and internet banking (90%), as well as finding information and reading online newspapers and magazines. Year on year, the biggest increase occurred in participation in online courses, as one in three internet users participated in online courses.

Enterprises use software to achieve greater efficiency

Tiina Pärson, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that enterprises are adopting new technologies to improve the efficiency of their operations. “The survey revealed that the use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software is gradually spreading. Both ERP and CRM software are used by 23% of enterprises,” added Pärson.

Among small enterprises with less than 20 employees, ERP software is used by a little over a tenth of enterprises. Among large enterprises with 250 or more employees, ERP software is used by 69%. The share of enterprises using ERP software is the highest in manufacturing, energy, wholesale and retail trade, information and communication, and professional, scientific and technical activities.

CRM software is used for the collection, storage and management of customer information, and for the analysis of this information for marketing purposes. The use of CRM software is the most common among enterprises engaged in information and communication, professional, scientific and technical activities, and wholesale and retail trade.

3% of enterprises use at least one AI technology

For the first time, the 2021 survey studied the use of artificial intelligence (AI), as it is a key part of digital transformation. Nearly a fifth of large enterprises use artificial intelligence, compared to just 2% of small enterprises. 6% of enterprises are considering the adoption of AI technologies.

The most common uses of artificial intelligence are for production processes, for sales and marketing, for running administrative processes and for the security of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Enterprises using artificial intelligence by purpose of use (%), 2021

The use of ICT by persons aged 16–74, households and enterprises is studied by statistical offices in all European Union countries according to a harmonised methodology. Statistics Estonia conducts the survey on the use of ICT in households and by persons aged 16–74 annually in the second quarter.

Statistics Estonia has studied the use of ICT in enterprises since 2001. The 2021 survey included 3,100 enterprises. Enterprises with 10 or more employees are surveyed.

See also the dedicated section on information and communication technologies.

More detailed data have been published in the statistical database.


For further information:

Kadri Kütt
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9181

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