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Spanish online market & credit cards
Is it true the Spanish don't trust e-commerce?

 9:35 am on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

A quick Q for anybody with experience in Spain.

Doing some reserach about European markets, I've come across the opinion that:

1) a low % of Spaniards have credit cards
2) few Spaniards who could buy online with a card actually trust buying online
3) as such, covnersions at Spanish websites are very low, making getting a ROI on PPC/PFI etc very difficult - so that many companies try once and then give up on search engine marketing.

I've also noticed that several big-brands (eg Amazon, Expedia) aren't in Spain, which seems to suggest they don't think the market there is ready.

Does anybody have experience/evidence of this?

Thanks in advance,



 4:01 pm on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good Morning redlion!

I've dealt quite a bit with the foreign markets with multiple products and services online. You are correct regarding the trust factor of certain countries/cultures.
With certian online services and now product offerings...people have worked with the Telcoms on a country specific basis to establish what is known as Dialers.
So a user would download a dialer to their computer and then connect to a site via a dedicated dialup directly to the site. It then feeds the instructions to the person regarding their purchase...or just be connecting...their experience begins right away.

They are then billed to their telephone bill. This is beginning with Premium SMS offers in which the person is billed for an online service or product by accepting the charge on their mobile.

I'm talking with an ISP in Latin America, and am running into the same thing you are in regards to a level of comfort with the provided billing platform. They recently deployed several Latin American Dialers...and they have had ZERO chargebacks whatsoever.

Interesting topic, but online ecommerce evolution may still plod on until we as individuals figure out how to make our own part of the world comfortable with online transactions in one way, shape, form, or fashion!


 4:30 pm on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

So far I'm noticing that potential clients in Spain much prefer to ask for a snail mail catalogue instead of ordering online (kind of frustrating when you don't have a catalogue to send out!).

:: nvision


 2:31 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's not quite true that a low % of Spaniards have credit cards - they are used extensively in Spain, although you could be correct in saying that the level of trust in online operations isn't as high as in other countries.

However, this is a rapidly growing market. Bear in mind that a web in Spanish isn't doesn't just tarjet Spain but also the whole of South America.

Also, Spain's internet infrastructure is only just getting off the ground. There are now cheap ADSL connections and more and more users are getting connected. Amazon and Expedia may not be here, but other companies like Espotting have made the decision to open up offices and portals for the Spanish market. I personally think this is the best time to target Spanish markets, with massive growth and potential for all sites.


 2:36 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good points, WallaWalla. The situation in Spain reminds me very much of the Germany 18 months or so back.

Entering the market early is a good strategy, as long as you keep the operation lean.
The additional plus of having a spanish version at the ready for the large LA market makes it a good future investment IMO.


 3:01 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

The whole of LA and many other US cities as well. Just a few days ago, the latest census data showed that hispanics are now the largest non-white racial group in the US having overtaken the afro-americans.

And the hispanics tend to stick to their own language - they adopt a certain way of life, and possibly the trust factor for online credit card operations may form part of that way of life, but watch TV, read newspapers and presumably brwose the Internet in their own language which is of course Spanish.


 11:04 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

According to this study [consumer.es] (in Spanish), Spaniards use credit cards for 10% of all purchases, there are 32 million debit cards and 16 million credit cards in Spain (whose population is around 39 million), and usage of these cards has increased by 25% in the last 5 years.

Plenty of market there, I would say.

P.S. not my first post, just a name change :)


 11:26 am on Jan 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Everybody

I am spanish myself and I would definetely say that people here are staring to trust buying through Internet. It is true that we are still concerned but we are getting there.

We do use Credit cards and definetely the people who surf the Net have one or two credit cards, who are the people we are targeting. To avoid that many sites use "Reverse Charge". Paypal is also becoming very popular.

I agree with Heini..."The situation in Spain reminds me very much of the Germany 18 months or so back". Look now how big is the German Market.

As Michel Porter said who first arrives takes all (or something like that)

Kind Regards


 11:10 pm on Jan 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some interesting points above, cheers all.

This looks to me like a case of needing to manage client expectations.

CPC works really well in country X for them but country Y is still accepting e-commerce; so I need to persuade them to give it time and use cheap PPC traffic for branding for now. And sell them on the first in the market advantage.

Maybe they should offer free money-off coupons and gather email addresses from this traffic, so, does anybody have experience of running CPC/SEO campaigns that offer print-off-and-take-to-the-shops coupons?

What works well in terms of design, what doesn't? Advice anyone?

Cheers again!


 10:14 am on Feb 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

>experience of running CPC/SEO campaigns that offer print-off-and-take-to-the-shops coupons?

Sorry Redlion, no experiences here.
It should be noted though that Spain is not Terra incognita in terms of e-commerce. There are people acting successfully there, like in the travel market.

As to Spain lagging behind one of the main problems causing this is poor infrastructure.
The spanish government however is gully aware of the situation. Two years back a plan was announced to make Internet cnnections available to all, not just the major cities.
According to Europemedia [europemedia.net] the Spanish Science and Technology Ministery announced
...it intends 30 per cent of rural Spanish homes to be able to access the internet by June, another 70 per cent by the end of the year and hopefully all of them by December 2004.

The problem however seem to be copper lines which have to be changed over to digital lines. I wonder if those would allow for broadband connections also.


 11:15 am on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

In the survey mentioned here [webmasterworld.com], almost half the participants said they used either ADSL or cable technology to connect to the Internet from home. Also, 56% said they'd used their credit cards to purchase something online in the past year.

Regarding the infrastructure, I don't think the problem lies in end-user connections, but rather Telefonica's Internet nodes connecting Spain to the rest of the world.

Marketing Guy

 11:23 am on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Small point - Amazon UK do deliver to Spain and the additional cost isn't that much, so I don't think that would be a barrier to sales (not much of a barrier anyway).

However, lack of Spanish language affiliate adverts may have an impact of affiliate sales.


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