Channel Choice Evolution

2020 | Journal Article

Willem Pieterson & Wolfgang Ebbers

Governments and citizens alike are reaching maturity levels in their Internet adoption. With citizens using online channels for more and more purposes, governments around the world are moving to a ‘digital by default’ service delivery strategy. The question arises as to whether online channels are indeed suited for all purposes and are the “go-to” channels when citizens need information in a variety of situations. In this study, we compare data collected in 2008 and 2017 in the Netherlands to assess the evolution in channel behavior. The analysis suggests that channel preferences and general usage are indeed shifting towards online channels, whilst gaps in online usage between age groups are narrowing. However, the findings also show that this shift is not uniform across all tasks. For certain purposes, choices for traditional channels remain surprisingly resilient. The findings suggest that while online channels are maturing, they are still not ready to replace other existing channels for all types of services. Our findings call for continued attention to integrated channel strategies that incorporate the strengths of individual service channels.

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