The Higher The Earner, The Greater The Bargain Hunter!

American online shopping habits

8 June 2011

Following a nationwide survey of American online shopping habits, new light has been shed on why consumers buy what they buy. The survey was conducted by SteelHouse, an exclusive behavioral commerce platform created by marketers for marketers. In conjunction with Chicago market researcher Synovate eNation, SteelHouse asked 1,000 Americans: “What kind of online shopper are you?”

How Americans Shop Online: The Higher The Earner, The Greater The Bargain Hunter! The survey aimed to discover trends among American shoppers from different socioeconomic groups. The American online shopping market has been a notorious one to pin down and define from a marketing perspective, primarily because of its sheer diversity.

The SteelHouse survey reads between the lines of American consumer diversity and finds some intriguing and surprising results. For instance 25 percent of men say they would buy premium brand name products compared to just 16 percent of women.

Arguably even more interestingly, consumers in the highest income bracket ($75,000+) look for coupons, discounts and free shipping more so than people who make less money. 32 percent in the higher income group say they buy only when there’s a discount (compared with 28 percent overall) and the same percentage say they buy only when shipping is free (compared with 27 percent overall). But they’re also the ones who are most likely to buy premium brand names: 29 percent of the highest income category regularly buy premium goods, compared with 15 percent of those who earn under $25,000.

It also provides us with an insight into the divided mindset of the average American shopper; though 40 percent say they always shop with a purpose to find something in particular, 30 percent say they regularly browse with no intention of buying.

Of  most interest to online retailers and their marketing departments may be the fact that 12 percent of those surveyed said that they would never buy from a website on a first visit, even if a discount was offered.

“It’s clear that simply giving the same offer to every online shopper is not the way to increase sales,” said Douglas. “We’re people, we approach shopping just like everything else – based on our personalities and ingrained behaviors. Retailers that understand and act on these different shopper personalities in real time are the ones that will be successful.”

The survey results also offer some conclusions that are more in line with our preconceptions, such as the fact that women feel more strongly about discounts and offers than men. Who knew?! Specifically, a third of women say they only buy when there’s a discount, and nearly that same amount say they only buy when free shipping is part of the deal, where as less than a quarter of men said the same thing.

Here is a full summary of the survey results:

44%  I read product reviews before I buy.

39%  I always shop with a purpose – I look online only when I’m searching for something in particular.

32%  I check out coupon sites to get the best price.

30%  I browse products regularly, even when I have no intention of buying.

28%  I buy only when there’s a discount.

27%  I buy only when there’s an offer for free shipping.

20%  I buy premium brand name products.

18%  I often start the checkout process but don’t end up purchasing.

12%  I never buy on my first visit to a website, even if a discount is offered.

11%  I never shop online.

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Posted by Bindra at 02:47 PM
bargain news , Features , Insights , Other People's Style , People , Shopping Trends , The City |

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