Digital Goods and Services Dominate Online Purchases Worldwide

September 11, 2019

On-demand services such as ridesharing and restaurant delivery represent fastest growing purchase category overall

BROOKFIELD, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 11, 2019-- Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, today released a new study, “The Global Rise of Digital Goods and Services,” which found that nearly three quarters (74%) of online purchases worldwide are for digital goods and services.

The study, originally commissioned by First Data, now Fiserv, evaluated the digital goods and services market and how purchase rates differ by region and demographic group, querying more than 6,000 consumers across 15 countries and four different age groups – Linksters (18-23), Socializers (24-34), MTV Generation (34-54) and Maturists (55+). Within the study, digital goods and services are defined as on-demand services, digital subscriptions, digital media, computer software and mobile apps.

“The rise of digital goods and services present ample opportunities for businesses to grow and enhance customer loyalty,” said Nandan Sheth, head of Global Digital Commerce, Fiserv. “This requires accounting for local payment preferences and nuances, enabling new digital experiences for customers, and ensuring secure commerce that is seamless across channels.”

On-demand services, including ridesharing, restaurant delivery, business services and home-sharing, are the fastest growing purchase category among all age groups. The average consumer made 31 on-demand services purchases in the last 12 months, and 71% of consumers who made on-demand service purchases this year spent the same or more on on-demand services compared to the previous year.

The study also found that 57% of consumers will stop shopping at an online merchant or cancel a digital service entirely after a negative purchasing experience.

“As businesses expand their digital approach to represent a true omni-channel strategy, consumer experience remains paramount,” said Sheth.


Ridesharing is the most commonly purchased on-demand service, although with a high degree of variation by country. Malaysia led all countries in the average number of times consumers utilized ridesharing services (13.17) over the last 12 months, while North America neared six (5.98). Ridesharing is most commonly used by Socializers (11.8 times per year), who use ridesharing nearly twice as often as Linksters (7.3) and the MTV Generation (6.4), and over three times as often as Maturists (3.6).

Restaurant Delivery

Restaurant delivery is the second most popular on-demand service, and despite the growing convergence with ridesharing services, the regional and demographic trends do not mirror those of ridesharing. Brazil led all countries in the average number of times consumers utilized restaurant delivery services (10.2) over the last 12 months, while Malaysia ranked sixth (8.26) and North America came in tenth (4.73). The MTV Generation used restaurant delivery more frequently than ridesharing in the previous year, and the inverse is true for Linksters.

Digital Media Subscriptions

Across all age groups, consumers have an average of nearly two (1.96) digital media subscriptions, with video streaming the most popular type of media subscription overall — 47% of consumers globally reported having at least one video-streaming service subscription. North America, Scandinavia, and Australia have the highest average number of video-streaming subscriptions per person, while India, the Philippines, and Poland have the fewest. Music is the second most popular digital media subscription type among consumers, as 34% of consumers are subscribing to music-streaming services. Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are the top three countries for downloading and streaming music.


While the gaming category, which includes the purchase of mobile, console and computer-based games and in-game content, traditionally has and continues to skew young, it is still a thriving market among all age groups. This is thanks in part to new advancements in mobile, streaming, payment and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

In the past 12 months, Socializers led in gaming purchases, with 51% having made a purchase, with Linksters coming in second (45%), followed by the MTV Generation (36%) and Maturists (13%). Regionally, consumers in Argentina, Germany, and Brazil made the most gaming purchases over the last 12 months, whereas consumers in Poland, Scandinavia, and the U.K. purchased the least frequently.

Other Facts: At a Glance

  • Socializers are number one when it comes to purchasing digital goods, with 57% having made a purchase in the previous year, followed by Linksters at 49%. Socializers are key purchasers of home-sharing and travel rental services, business services, and all things gaming-related.
  • Common payment methods for Linksters include debit cards (46%) and online/mobile pay (45%); Linksters are also the demographic most likely to use cash. Socializers’ common payment methods include: online/mobile pay (58%), debit cards (53%) and credit cards (46%).
  • MTV Generation is the fastest growing demographic in India, Mexico and Argentina. The fastest growing purchase category among the MTV Generation is on-demand, and the most purchased non-physical goods include online gaming, online news and magazine subscriptions, meal or grocery delivery services, paid podcast subscriptions and music or video streaming subscriptions.
  • Maturists might be the least frequent purchasers of digital goods overall, butthey are the most frequent purchasers in rural and urban areas, especially in India (39%) and Poland (41%). They care the most about the safety and security of payments, with 77% saying it was important or very important. Despite these security concerns Maturists are the most likely to store their payment information online.


In May 2019, First Data, now Fiserv, commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the nonphysical/digital goods and services market and how purchase rates differ by region and demographic. Forrester conducted an online survey of 6,115 online adults ages 18+ to explore this topic. In this study, Forrester looked at online segments from 12 countries/ regions: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Malaysia, North America (US and Canada), the Philippines, Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), and the United Kingdom. The organization also examined four different age groups: Linksters (ages 18 to 23), Socializers (ages 24 to 37), the MTV Generation (ages 38 to 53), and Maturists (ages 54+).

Additional Resources

The Global Rise of Digital Goods and Services (White Paper) –

About Fiserv

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) aspires to move money and information in a way that moves the world. As a global leader in payments and financial technology, the company helps clients achieve best-in-class results through a commitment to innovation and excellence in areas including account processing and digital banking solutions; card issuer processing and network services; payments; e-commerce; merchant acquiring and processing; and the Clover™ cloud-based point-of-sale solution. Fiserv is a member of the S&P 500® Index and the FORTUNE®500 and is among the FORTUNE Magazine World’s Most Admired Companies®. Visit and follow on social media for more information and the latest company news.


Source: Fiserv, Inc.

Media Relations:
Chase Wallace
Director, Communications
Fiserv, Inc.
+1 404-890-2132

Additional Contact:
Ann Cave
Director, External Communications
Fiserv, Inc.
+1 678-325-9435