Online and Mobile Shopping - US - June 2013
“The majority of e-commerce shoppers purchase goods online via laptop/desktop computers. Though they tend to stick to ‘familiar’ online retailers, the frequency in online shopping is significantly less than those who shop via smartphones or tablets. These shoppers, however, tend to be savvy, to be more incline to compare prices online, and to shop at ‘unfamiliar’ retailers.”
– Ali Lipson, Senior Retail and Apparel Analyst
Some issues addressed in this report include:
- To drive the frequency of online purchases, retailers may consider stimulating mobile device use
- Convenience, the holy grail of e-shopping, boosted by smartphone and tablet ownership
- Inclination for online price comparison equates to low brand loyalty and high price sensitivity
Despite a healthy pace of 10.3% compounded annual growth rate from 2007-12, e-commerce only makes up a small percentage of the overall retail market. Sales via laptop/desktop computers make up the vast majority of e-commerce, but sales via tablet are increasing faster than sales through both laptops/desktops and smartphones. Tablet penetration is currently very low, not surprising considering its relative newness as a technology, but it is growing rapidly. Targeting these mobile-device users is important because of their higher than average number of purchases and spending amounts. The slow growth of e-commerce despite fairly high penetration suggests that online retailers should concentrate on building their sales through their existing customer base, as opposed to trying to attract new customers. Millennials are an important component of the existing online shopping contingent and tend to respond to low prices and peer/socially driven recommendations.
For the purposes of this report, the online and mobile shopping market has been defined as sales to consumers of merchandise conducted via the internet or other online system (including email, instant messaging, and smartphone applications). It covers web-only (“pure-play” retailers) as well as the online operations of brick-and-mortar retailers, catalog, television specialists, and other remote retailers. Market estimates implicitly include shopping via “apps” and smartphones. The focus of this report is on tangible objects that require pick-up or delivery: digital media, travel, entertainment tickets, insurance policies, and other products that are not tangible are not the main subject of this report. Prescription drugs may be included in sales figures, but is also not a sector covered in this report.
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