High-Income Consumers Shop Online 40% More Than Low-Income

When it comes to retail’s digital transformation, consumers with cash to burn are leading the charge.

By the Numbers

The 2024 edition of PYMNTS Intelligence’s “How the World Does Digital” report drew from a survey of 67,000 consumers across 11 countries that make up approximately half of the world’s gross domestic product, digging into their digital behaviors across various aspects of their lives.

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The study found that 72% of consumers had engaged digitally with shopping in the last 30 days. These shoppers averaged 18.9 activity days per month — that is, days in which they engaged in at least one online shopping activity.

Among high-income consumers, that count rose to 22.1, whereas for low-income shoppers, it was 29% lower, at only 15.8.

A Deeper Dive

While these consumers may disproportionately shop online, they are also the hardest to see through to conversion. Supplemental research from the PYMNTS Intelligence report “How Preferred Payment Availability Can Reduce Cart Abandonment” revealed that contrary to expectations that lower-income shoppers would abandon carts more often due to challenging budgeting decisions, higher-income consumers were actually more prone to cart abandonment. Specifically, those earning over $100,000 annually exhibited the highest frequency of this behavior.

Additionally, the study “The Online Features Driving Consumers to Shop With Brands, Retailers or Marketplaces” found that when high-income shoppers do make online purchases, they are likelier than those in other income brackets to want to buy directly from brands.

They also disproportionately engage with social media commerce. Background research from the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Monetizing Social Media” found that 52% of consumers who earn more than $100,000 annually said they had shopped for or bought goods or services through social media in the previous month. Conversely, 43% of those who earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year and 32% of those who earn less than $50,000 said the same.

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