Adoption of e-commerce by individuals and digital divide: Evidence from Spain

E-commerce penetration rates are distant among those groups of individuals with the lowest and the highest levels of online shopping adoption. This is an indicator of digital divide, having negative effects in terms of untapped opportunities for people, companies and the whole economy.

Key socioeconomic and demographic determinants of adoption of e-commerce are explored, analyzing a pool dataset of 174,776 observations for the period 2008-2017 in Spain.

The empirical analysis is based on a standard neoclassical utility maximization framework. Linear probability model, logistic regression, and Heckman’s sample selection correction model have been used.

The results suggest that e-commerce adoption is positively related with being male, having higher levels of education, income and digital skills, being Spanish, and being employed; while being female, older and belonging to a household of two or more members have negative effects.

An interaction between digital skills and age has been introduced in the model, where high digital skills seem to have a positive influence, partly counteracting the lower odds for some age groups.

There are different types of actors interested in fostering e-commerce. Specific policy recommendations related to demand and supply measures are suggested to foster the adoption of e-commerce.

More information about this research can be found in the paper available here by Ángel Valarezo, Rafael López and Teodosio Pérez-Amaral, and financed with the funds of this project.

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