Those Who Browse Online, Buy Online

In online commerce, there’s browsing and then there’s buying.

We’ve seen from numerous studies that consumers use multiple devices to research what to purchase as well as to actually make the purchase.

While in-store purchasing still rules, sellers of various products and services may want to take a hard look at the direction the market is moving.

Almost half of online consumers intend to purchase clothing or make airline or hotel reservations using an online device in the next six months, according to a new study.

But that’s just the buying part.

In certain categories, those who browse online also buy there.

When shopping for clothes, event tickets, books and personal care products, there’s almost a one-to-one correlation between online searching and shopping, according to a new ecommerce study by Nielsen. Those who browse online also buy online.



Categories with a high browse-to-buy intention rates are:

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Baby supplies
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Cosmetics
  • Event tickets
  • Flowers
  • Groceries
  • Personal care products
  • Pet products
  • Reservations for tours and hotels
  • Toys

There also are categories where there is more browsing than online buying. They are:

  • Car, motorcycle, accessories
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer software
  • Electronic equipment
  • Mobile phone
  • Music (not downloaded)
  • Sporting goods
  • Videos, DVDs, games

The Nielsen ecommerce study is based on a survey of 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries to determine the online shopping and purchasing intentions of consumers worldwide.

Of the 22 categories in the study, the only category with a higher global buy-to-browse ratio is airline tickets.

By device, the large majority (80%) of consumers globally who shop or make an online purchase will do so from a computer.

Fewer than half (44%) globally use their mobile device most frequently for online shopping, with the most in the Middle East/Africa and the fewest in North America.

Here’s the breakdown of where mobile is a most frequent device of choice of those who will shop or make a purchase online within the next six months:

  • 55% -- Middle East, Africa
  • 52% -- Asia-Pacific
  • 48% -- Latin America
  • 33% -- Europe
  • 27% -- North America

Tablet shopping globally lags behind smartphones. By region, here’s the breakdown of where tablets will be a most frequently used device for online shopping in the next six months:

  • 38% -- Middle East, Africa
  • 35% -- Asia-Pacific
  • 29% -- Latin America
  • 26% -- North America
  • 24% -- Europe

The reason the device choice matters is that many categories are growing in prominence for online shopping.

The obvious challenge for anyone selling anything is to be in a position to influence the purchase decision during the researching, browsing and buying phases.

Mobile commerce is now happening in all places and all the time.


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