A new study released by Pew Research Center sheds further light on the current consumer mindset in the U.S. as the year comes to a close. While a majority of U.S. shoppers have made an online purchase, the newest study shows that it's far from their preferred method of consumption. Here are some of the key findings.
The Pew study serves as confirmation: Some 79 percent of shoppers surveyed have made an online purchase of any type. In addition, the study found that 51 percent have made a purchase on their smartphones, and some 15 percent have used social media links to buy something. And 12 percent reported using a mobile device to pay for purchases in-store.
But if made to choose, Pew's study indicated that 64 percent of Americans would prefer to make purchases in physical stores over buying online. Though that seems like a pretty safe majority, the full picture may not be so black-and-white.
Pew Research Center's findings show that whether online platforms are a door-to-store or a purchase endgame largely depends on price. The study found 65 percent of shoppers will compare online and in-store prices and choose whichever option is cheapest.
Whether or not consumers buy in-store or online, the Pew study found that online reviews play a key role in consumers' decision to buy. As it turns out, 82 percent of survey respondents reported consulting online ratings and reviews when buying something for the first time. Additionally, about 40 percent of Americans indicate almost always consulting online reviews before making a new purchase.
Additionally, the Pew study confirmed earlier findings that, while cash is still king, it's on its way out. Some 24 percent of respondents indicated that few to none of their weekly purchases involved cash. However, this result also varied largely depending on demographics — low-income, senior and non-white respondents were more likely to rely on cash than white, high-income and young people surveyed.