Global Shopping Behaviors

As the traditional consumer purchase journey continues to evolve, so too should the way merchants think about their sales opportunities. BigCommerce conducted a global survey of nearly 3,000 digital consumers to find out. Though respondents vary by age, income and region, one thing is for certain, says the report: omnichannel retail, or the process of selling across multiple physical and digital channels, is the new reality retailers must face.

Recent reports indicate that 87% of all consumer spending in the U.S. still occurs offline, but when you dig a little deeper, a more nuanced story unfolds. Specifically, when asked about their shopping behaviors prior to making a purchase in a physical retail store,

  • 39% of digital consumers visited a brand’s website,
  • 36% read customer reviews,
  • 33% attempted to price match the product online, with
  • 32% finding the brand on Amazon.

How then do retailers effectively reach these hyper-connected consumers in an increasingly competitive industry, asks the report. In short, by having an omnichannel sales strategy.

Regardless of where a final purchase occurs, brands must now have a strategy that encompasses an ever-expanding range of physical and digital channels where their consumers are shopping.

In the last six months

78% of global respondents to the BigCommerce survey made a purchase on Amazon,

  • 65% in a physical store,
  • 45% on a branded online store,
  • 34% on eBay and another
  • 11% Facebook.

More than ever, consumers are shopping in a number of different places simultaneously, and brands need to adjust their digital strategy in tandem.

With a market cap nearing $1 trillion,

  • Amazon owns a staggering 49% of online spend in the U.S. roughly 5% of all U.S. retail sales.
  • In the last six months, 83% of U.S. consumers made a purchase on Amazon.
  • Look specifically at the digital-first millennial generation in the U.S., and that number jumps to 90%

But merchants that choose to treat Amazon as a sales channel are thriving. According to the company’s 2018 Small Business Impact Report,

  • 50% of the items purchased on Amazon’s marketplace come from its third-party sellers,
  • more than 20,000 of whom surpassed $1 million in sales on the platform last year.

Consumers flock to Amazon as a destination to discover new products, and in fact, 30% of consumers saw a brand on Amazon before ultimately purchasing it on a brand’s website.

Survey respondents no longer view price as the primary reason to purchase on Amazon. For 28% of respondents, convenience reigns. Amazon has become so good at creating a simple, frictionless purchase experience that it no longer has to compete in a race to the bottom on price.

The #1 reason consumers shop on Amazon is convenience, not price. A consumer that can see value clearly outlined is more likely to view price as a positive, even when it is not the lowest option. The ability to articulate value also comes into play when discussing returns.

Gen Z shops differently, but not by much. Each time a new generation hits spending maturity, discussions ensue about their buying habits. This holds especially true with those generations that came of age in a digital-first world, namely Millennials and Gen Z. As it turns out, Gen Z shopping habits do have some unique characteristics defined by their age, says the report. When it comes to making purchases, Gen Z respondents spend 8% more of their discretionary income each month online than the global average, and tend to prefer online purchases to those made offline. Only 56% of Gen Z consumers made a purchase in a physical store in the last six months compared to 65% of all respondents.

Where it really gets interesting, says the report, is when you look at the role social media played in Gen Z’s buying behavior. Respondents from this generation were 2X more likely than the average consumer to make a purchase on Instagram over the last six months, and 3X more likely to buy on Snapchat.

Amazon Prime nails it, says the report: why people pay annual fees

In its 2018 letter to shareholders, Amazon announced there are now more than 100 million Amazon Prime members globally. The service, which offers myriad subscriber benefits for a seemingly reasonable price of $120/year, has rapidly become a vital component of Amazon’s total brand promise, providing unparalleled convenience and a host of value-add features for power shoppers.

For more insights and statistics from the 2018 Omnichannel Study, visit the BigCommerce blog.

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