Digital is as digital does – a new study by Fiserv called “The Global Rise of Digital Goods and Services,” found that nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of online purchases worldwide are for digital goods and services.

The study 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+).

Digital goods and services were defined as on-demand services, digital subscriptions, digital media, computer software and mobile apps.

According to Nandan Sheth, head of Global Digital Commerce, Fiserv, “The rise of digital goods and services present ample opportunities for businesses to grow and enhance customer loyalty.”

“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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent having made a purchase, with Linksters coming in second (45 per cent), followed by the MTV Generation (36 per cent) and Maturists (13 per cent).

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.

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