Online shopping is no longer reserved for the tech-savvy, with a new Pew Research Center survey finding eight in 10 American adults shop online. According to Pew, 79 percent made online purchases of any type, while 51 percent used a mobile phone to make a purchase and 15 percent bought something via a link from a social media website.
Back in 2000, when Pew Research Center starting polling consumers about their online shopping habits, only 22 percent of Americans purchased things online.
Although a large majority of Americans have embraced online shopping, they still see the benefits of going into an actual store. The survey found 64 percent of Americans said, if everything was equal, they would shop in a store instead of making an online purchase. Still, since prices drive most decisions, many are turning to the internet for their purchases. The survey found 65 percent of respondents said they compare prices when making purchases and choose which option is cheaper, be it online or in a retail store. About one in five, or 21 percent, said they buy from stores without checking prices online, and 14 percent said they buy online without checking price tags at retail stores.
This crop of online shoppers are also savvy when it comes to buying something for the first time, with 86 percent of survey respondents saying it’s important to be able to comparison shop. Meanwhile, 84 percent said it’s important to be able to ask questions and purchase from sellers they are comfortable with. More than seven in 10 want to be able to test the product in person, while 77 percent cited advice from people they know. Pew Research also found online reviews are becoming a more important part of consumers’ decision making, with 82 percent saying they check online ratings and reviews before making a purchase.