Understanding Israeli e-Commerce Demographics

Joe D

With the North American economy in the middle of a recession, many marketers are beginning to think outside the box and are targeting their marketing campaigns to roads less traveled. Take Israel for example – were you aware that 67% of credit card holders in Israel use them to make purchases online? In fact, a survey conducted by credit card giant MasterCard Worldwide discovered that 24% of Israelis increased the number of credit card purchases made online in the last year.

A lot of people don’t think about Israel when they think about Internet marketing, but that’s all about to change. Why the sudden move to online purchasing? The MasterCard survey also found that Israelis have a lot of confidence in online shopping and that they believe it to be an easy and convenient way to purchase the things they need. Unlike Europeans, Israelis also believe that being able to pay via credit card is the biggest advantage to online shopping.

The demographics uncovered during this survey also found that approximately 57% of Israeli women use their credit cards to make purchases online, but an overwhelming 78% of Israeli men shop online with credit cards as well. It appears that age doesn’t really affect interest or confidence in online shopping, with 59% of Israelis over the age of 50, 70% of respondents between 30-49 and 77% of respondents aged 18-29 all using credit cards to shop online.

Popular Websites & Behavior

So what are the most popular websites in Israel and how often are Israelis logging on to surf the Web? Google is the top dog with a hefty exposure rate of 90.1%, and Facebook is the second most visited site with a weekly exposure rate of 69.2%. Walla! is the most widely used portal in Israel, which jumped ahead of other top favorites in recent months to take over third place with a weekly exposure rate of 64.5% which is up from 63.1% in July 2010. Other popular sites such as YouTube, which is currently in fourth place with a 59.4% exposure rate and fifth place favorite, Hebrew news site Ynet, which had a weekly exposure rate of 57.2%.

The top “website for the workplace” is Globes, with a weekly exposure rate of 13.2%, and in second place TheMarketer’s came in at 12.1%. These figures have changed slightly from usage in July, when Globes came in at 13% and TheMarketer came in at 14.4%.

With regard to sports and entertainment websites, traffic at most sport sites in Israel fell off quickly after the 2010 World Cup ended, and Israeli traffic at international sports sites fell off as well. One site dropped 14.8% in July down to 13.4% in August, dropping it down to 16th place in ranking, and once-popular Sport 5 dropped from 14.7% in July all the way down to 13.3%, putting it in 17th place.

When surveyed, 37.6% of Israelis thought that they might increase their usage of the Internet in the coming year, while 51.5% said they figured it might just stay the same. Only 5.8% of Israelis surveyed thought that they might cut down on their usage in the coming year.

What Can You Do?

Marketing to Israelis is just like marketing to any other demographic or niche. You need to find out what it is that the people there are interested in, what you can sell and how they would buy. Obviously we already know that they are comfortable and confident in using credit cards to make purchases online and that usage is growing – slightly, but growing in all age demographics. Take some time to study the culture and the market itself by reading articles, checking out surveys and studies and then by diving in to see if you can reach a niche audience in Israel through your marketing efforts.

It’s just like any other marketing venture – trial and error plays a key role. Employ all of your strategies that you would use anywhere else and then see what works. With markets growing outside of North America and economic recovery not appearing to come any time soon, it’s worth every effort to explore marketing to new countries “outside the box” including Israel.