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The Path to Online Purchase: Understanding the Consumer - US - December 2018

"The path to online purchase is becoming increasingly complex as retailers add options to address shoppers’ priorities and concerns. Product awareness is driven by various online and offline influences, and along the journey, shoppers consider numerous options and compare offers to find the best deals and product to suit their needs."
- Matt Lindner, Senior eCommerce Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Create an awareness of a need or want to prompt a search
  • Adapt to consumer search behavior triggered by awareness
  • Help consumers find the information they need to feel confident
  • Make the final step – purchasing – as smooth as possible

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Scope
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • What’s next
            • eCommerce moments of truth
              • Create an awareness of a need or want to prompt a search
                • Key takeaway: entice shoppers to become social media and offline influencers
                  • Adapt to consumer search behavior triggered by awareness
                    • Key takeaway: have a presence on Amazon/mass retailers, save premium products for own sites
                      • Help consumers find the information they need to feel confident
                        • Key takeaway: shoppers need a gut check on their choices and look to validate their decisions
                          • Make the final step – purchasing – as smooth as possible
                            • Key takeaway: shoppers are frustrated by unexpected steps during checkout
                              • What it means
                              • Online Shopping – The Basics

                                • The consumer
                                  • Nearly everyone is an eCommerce shopper
                                    • Figure 1: Online shopping frequency, October 2018
                                  • Spending shifts from brick and mortar to online
                                    • Figure 2: Percentage of purchases made online compared to in-store, by generation, March 2018
                                  • Most types of products are bought online
                                    • Figure 3: Products consumers typically buy online, October 2018
                                  • Older shoppers need coaxing to buy everyday essentials online
                                      • Figure 4: Products consumers typically buy online, by generation – Baby Boomers and World War II/Swing Generation, October 2018
                                    • The technology
                                      • Smartphone ownership outpaces traditional computers overall
                                        • Figure 5: Internet connected device – Personal and household ownership, by generation, May 2018
                                      • Mobile must be top of mind for online stores
                                          • Figure 6: Attitudes toward shopping on smartphones, by generation, April 2018
                                        • The selection
                                          • Comparison shopping is common across all categories
                                            • Figure 7: Number of websites and/or apps visited before making an online purchase, March 2018
                                        • Online Browsing and Buying – Device Usage

                                          • Smartphone browsing and buying will soon surpass desktop
                                              • Figure 8: Online browsing and buying behaviors, by device, October 2018
                                            • Smartphone use is significant among shoppers of all product categories
                                              • Figure 9: Devices used to browse online, by shoppers of different product categories, October 2018
                                              • Figure 10: Devices used to buy online, by shoppers of different product categories, October 2018
                                            • Younger women and Hispanics lead smartphone shopping
                                              • Frequent social media use and mobile shopping go hand-in-hand
                                                  • Figure 11: Devices used to browse and buy online, by age and gender, October 2018
                                                • Hispanics drive the shift to smartphone browsing and buying
                                                  • Figure 12: Devices used to browse and buy online, by Hispanic origin, October 2018
                                              • The Path to Online Purchase – What You Need to Know

                                                • Driving awareness – What you need to know
                                                  • Word of mouth, email promotions drive consumers to shop online
                                                    • More paths to purchase start on Amazon than anywhere else
                                                      • Social media is crucial to reach younger online shoppers
                                                        • Considering solutions – What you need to know
                                                          • Product type and category matters more than brand name
                                                            • Younger online shoppers discover new products along the path
                                                              • Product reviews matter nearly as much as price
                                                                • Consumers buy – What you need to know
                                                                  • About half of online shoppers purchase from the site where they found the item
                                                                    • Simplify and streamline the checkout
                                                                      • The barriers – What you need to know
                                                                        • Inconvenience, site issues, and mobile issues are primary frustrations
                                                                        • Driving Awareness – Prompting a Search

                                                                          • Give them something to talk about
                                                                              • Figure 13: Product search triggers, October 2018
                                                                            • Frequent online shoppers more responsive to promotional emails
                                                                                • Figure 14: Promotional email as a product search trigger, by online shopping frequency, October 2018
                                                                              • Shift ad spend to social media channels to drive awareness among younger shoppers
                                                                                  • Figure 15: Social media and offline print ads as a product search trigger, by generation, October 2018
                                                                                • Engage parents through digital rewards sites and apps
                                                                                  • Figure 16: Rebate and coupon apps or sites as a product search trigger, by parent status, October 2018
                                                                              • Consumers Become Aware – The Search Begins

                                                                                • Shoppers’ online “starting point” influences future purchases
                                                                                  • One third of online shoppers start on Amazon
                                                                                      • Figure 17: Online shopping starting point for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, October 2018
                                                                                    • iGens are nearly as likely to start on social media as search engines
                                                                                        • Figure 18: Online shopping starting point for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, by generation, October 2018
                                                                                      • Gap between Amazon, other retailers narrows for more affluent shoppers
                                                                                          • Figure 19: Online shopping starting point for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, by household income, October 2018
                                                                                      • Typical Online Shopping Behaviors

                                                                                        • Consumers are split on using a list to shop
                                                                                            • Figure 20: How consumers typically shop online, October 2018
                                                                                          • Dads are more open to new brands
                                                                                              • Figure 21: How consumers typically shop online – Stick with/seek out new brands, list and automatic replenishment services use, by parent status by gender, October 2018
                                                                                            • Younger and Hispanic online shoppers value smaller, local business
                                                                                                • Figure 22: How consumers typically shop online – shop first in smaller or local online stores, by generation and Hispanic origin, October 2018
                                                                                            • Consumers Consider Solutions – Searching Behaviors

                                                                                              • More online shoppers search by product type than by brand name
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Product searching behavior for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, October 2018
                                                                                                • Older shoppers are specific, younger shoppers more prone to discovery
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Product searching behavior for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, by generation, October 2018
                                                                                                  • Online shoppers generally don’t stick to just the first page of results
                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Product searching behavior for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, by household income, October 2018
                                                                                                  • Typical Pre-purchase Activities

                                                                                                    • Product reviews are nearly as important as discounts
                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Pre-purchase activities – Product selection and price, October 2018
                                                                                                      • Consumers who read reviews frequently seek out multiple sources of information
                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Pre-purchase activities – read product reviews all or most of the time – CHAID – Tree output, October 2018
                                                                                                      • Value in familiarity
                                                                                                        • How brick-and-mortar stores factor in
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Pre-purchase – Convenience factors, October 2018
                                                                                                          • Product details matter as much as price
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Pre-purchase comparison shopping behaviors, October 2018
                                                                                                            • Consumers who frequently compare prices also compare other attributes
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Pre-purchase activities – Compare prices all or most of the time – CHAID – Tree output, October 2018
                                                                                                          • Consumers Buy – Making the Purchase

                                                                                                            • Finding the “right” product doesn’t always mean an automatic purchase
                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Product searching next steps for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, October 2018
                                                                                                              • Younger consumers are more prone to comparison shopping
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Product searching next steps for clothing and accessories, groceries, or beauty products, by generation, October 2018
                                                                                                              • Barriers on the Path to Online Purchase

                                                                                                                • Security concerns and slow speeds can derail an online shopping trip
                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Online purchasing frustrations – Security, apps, site loading speed, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • Images can make or break an online sale
                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Online purchasing frustrations – Imagery, comparisons, locating items, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • One-click checkout eliminates a barrier to buying online
                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Barriers to completing an online purchase, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • The Path to Online Purchase – Clothing and Accessories

                                                                                                                    • Men start on Amazon, women start with specialty retailers
                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Online shopping starting point for clothing and accessories, by gender, October 2018
                                                                                                                      • Men search by product type, women comb through search results
                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Online product searching behavior for clothing and accessories, by gender, October 2018
                                                                                                                      • Women will add to cart with plans to buy later
                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Product searching next steps for clothing and accessories, by gender, October 2018
                                                                                                                      • The Path to Online Purchase – Groceries

                                                                                                                        • Amazon and Walmart lead the way with online grocery shoppers
                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Online shopping starting point for groceries, by gender, October 2018
                                                                                                                        • Women shop by product type
                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Online product searching behavior for groceries, by gender, October 2018
                                                                                                                        • Men comparison shop, ask for others’ opinions
                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Product searching next steps for groceries, October 2018
                                                                                                                      • The Path to Online Purchase – Beauty Products

                                                                                                                        • Younger women start on Amazon; women aged 45+ go to other retailers
                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Online shopping point for beauty products – Women, by age, October 2018
                                                                                                                        • Younger women discover new products during search
                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Online product searching behavior for beauty products – Women, by age, October 2018
                                                                                                                        • Women aged 45+ buy immediately, younger women take their time
                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Product searching next steps for beauty products, October 2018
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Terms

                                                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                    • Terms
                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Further Analysis

                                                                                                                                      • TURF analysis
                                                                                                                                        • Methodology
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: TURF analysis – Product search triggers, October 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Table – TURF analysis – Product search triggers, October 2018
                                                                                                                                        • CHAID analysis
                                                                                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Read product reviews all or most of the time – CHAID – Table output, October 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Compare prices all or most of the time – CHAID – Table output, October 2018

                                                                                                                                        The Path to Online Purchase: Understanding the Consumer - US - December 2018

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