Consumers Like Online Shopping Better Than In-Store

by , Apr 11, 2012, 6:45 AM
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According to a recent Bazaarvoice study comparing feedback from online to in-store shoppers, the average feedback rating among 19-24-year-olds was 4.48 (out of 5.0) for their online purchases, compared to 4.40 for their in-store purchases. However, those aged 55-64 and 65 and over were much more likely to report satisfaction with their online than offline purchases.

Most customer feedback, whether a purchase is made online or in a store, comes from purchasers in the 35 to 65+ age range, says the report. However, in-store buyers aged 19 to 24 are more likely to go online to give their feedback for the products they purchase. The older the in-store shopper, the less likely he or she is to leave product feedback online.

Across the board, data shows that in-store shoppers are less satisfied with the products they purchase in stores, compared to those who buy online. And purchasers aged 55 and older were much more satisfied with their online purchases versus those who make their purchases in store.

Consumer Purchase Satisfaction (Online vs. In-Store)


Average Feedback Rating (5.0 Highest)

Age Group

Online Purchases

In-Store Purchases



















Source: BazaarVoice, April 2012

The data debunks the myth that older consumers are less comfortable with online buying; young consumers aren’t the only ones loving the convenience of shopping online. And, there seems to be some truth to the stereotype that women enjoy their shopping trips more than men. Whether they buy in-store or online, men and women are just as likely to give online feedback about the products they purchase.

But women who buy in-store are more likely to be happy with their purchases. Women who buy something in a store rate it four to five stars (out of five) 87% of the time. Men who make a purchase in a store only assign four or five stars to products 80% of the time. Research underscores that men find online shopping an effective way to avoid the hassle of in-store shopping, says the report.

Percent of Reviews By Gender


% Rating







Online purchases


















In-Store purchases


















Source: Bazaarvoice, April 2012

Many factors could drive these phenomena, says the report. Online purchasers may have more access to research, feedback from other consumers, and more product options online, so they simply make better choices. Or maybe the in-store experience sullies product satisfaction. In fact, 70% of shoppers use their smartphones while shopping in the store, a clear indication that in-person sales reps don’t give shoppers all the information they need.

Additional findings from the study:

  • Online buyers were far more likely than in-store buyers to receive an email asking them to review their purchases (80% vs. 45%)
  • During after-work hours, mobile visits to retail websites match non-mobile visits. From midnight to 5 AM, the plurality of shoppers are using iPads
  • iPad users spend 3% more time on retail websites than computer users (5 minutes vs. 4 minute and 50 seconds), and nearly 16% more time than other tablet and mobile users (5 minutes vs. 4 minutes and 19 seconds)

Erin Nelson,Chief Marketing Officer, Bazaarvoice, summarizes by noting that “... every day, consumers share their opinions and experiences with other consumers and brands. Smart brands take the data these conversations reveal and use it to learn more... about what consumers think of their products, what’s important to them, and how they want to interact... “

To review the complete report in PDF format, please visit Bazaarvoice here.





4 comments on "Consumers Like Online Shopping Better Than In-Store".

  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct
    commented on: April 11, 2012 at 9:21 a.m.
    Those are differences, but insignificant ones. I teach my students to ignore attempts to slice data that's this thin. The only significant take-away I found was confirmation that older buyers like online. Of course, the study is clear that we are pestering online buyers with too many studies.
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: April 11, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.
    Buying what on line ? Got a bridge for you on this one.
  3. Scott Brown from Conceptual Viral Marketing
    commented on: April 11, 2012 at 1:21 p.m.
    I read the report and there are some serious and sadly common issues with the methodology. There is now indication of how the samples were taken, the response rate and the survey was delivered and coded. There validity of this data and the interpretation of it is suspect. When, dear lord, will our industry adhere to sound scientific method? An example here would be the fact that they pulled the sample from online. Then, they generalize the idea that "seniors prefer shopping online." Well... big problem. Seniors who shop online (a requirement since that's where they pulled the sample) prefer to shop online. Seriously? This is scientific? We're supposed to base opinions and go to clients with the crap? No wonder our industry is in chaos. Sorry to be so hard on this, but come on. There is scientific rigor to follow, and the conclusions drawn here are, to be kind, suspect. Don't go to your clients with this. I would suggest looking up studies done in the numerous advertising and consumer science journals instead.
  4. Scott Brown from Conceptual Viral Marketing
    commented on: April 11, 2012 at 1:22 p.m.
    Sorry for the typos! I'm on my iPhone... and I suck at typing on my iPhone. Hopefully it's still clear enough to read. Cheers, Scott Brown M.A. Consumer Psychology

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