Retail

UPS Study: eCommerce Changes Customer Habits

According to a new study put out by UPS, eCommerce isn’t just changing the “where” of commerce activity for Americans — it is also shifting much of the “how” and the “why” as well.

The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study indicates that 51 percent of all purchases made by respondents were made online — a 4-percent increase from last year, when that figure was 48 percent. The study derives from figures in comScore’s survey of over 5,000 American shoppers.

Perhaps expectedly, 17 percent of consumers plan to shop less in store and shift some of that spend to digital devices. The smartphone saw the biggest spike, as 77 percent of consumers reported an intent to shift more mobile shopping time to their phones — a 10-percent jump from last year. Consumers are also indicating increased satisfaction with the mobile experience; 73 percent are in the happy camp, an 8-percent improvement from last year’s 65 percent.

And how consumers are getting onto the commerce journey is increasingly a changed landscape. Thirty-four percent of study respondents note social media strongly influences what they buy, as opposed to only 25 percent a year ago, while 23 percent indicated making a social-media based purchase.

Store-only purchases and searches are on the decline, falling to 20 percent from 22 percent last year. However, cross-channel transactions that combine physical and digital commerce were on the rise, now accounting for 38 percent of all purchases (up from 36 percent last year.)

Online sales are also strongly shaping store traffic, as half of the shoppers who buy online ship to a physical store instead of their home. Once at the store to pick up the object, 46 percent report doing additional shopping. Of that set, 70 percent actually buy more stuff.

And it seems that with some leveled up training stores could hope to boost that figure since only 36 percent of shoppers report finding helpful in-store staff.

Consumers are also blending the steps in the shopping process, and are more likely to use their phones in real-time to research goods and services. Of all consumers surveyed, 30 percent look up reviews on their phone, 28 percent read product details and 27 percent compare prices.

Looking at online purchases, the study finds free shipping continues to be the most important factor driving customer satisfaction when checking out online (73%), although consumers are willing to pay a premium for faster delivery. Fifty percent of shoppers said they would pay for faster shipping for personal reasons, such as birthdays and holidays.

The study also found that the thrill of hunting for and finding deals remains key to 45 percent of consumers. One-in-six have seen showrooms with no inventory and over one-third of shoppers start their commerce journey on an online marketplace.

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More than 63 percent of merchant service providers (MSPs) want to overhaul their core payment processing systems so they can up their value-added services (VAS) game. It’s tough, though, since many of these systems date back to the pre-digital era. In the January 2020 Optimizing Merchant Services Playbook, PYMNTS unpacks what 200 MSPs say is key to delivering the VAS agenda that is critical to their success.

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