Online shopping has become a near-ubiquitous activity. According to a recent study by Verto Analytics, more than 96 percent of all American adults (ages 18 and above) use an e-commerce platform at least once a month. And multitasking has become the norm, presenting a new challenge to online retailers. In addition to shopping online, consumers are often talking to friends online, browsing other shopping destinations for comparison, and even streaming videos. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for retailers to understand not only their target audience, but also their behaviors and usage patterns in order to drive sales.
Who Shops Online the Most?
Online shopping behaviors vary across age groups, giving retailers insight into how much time different demographics devote to online shopping within their mobile journey. Millennials, for example, who represent 30 percent of the total online shopping population, shop less online than Gen X or baby boomers. Merely 24 percent of millennials can be classified as heavy shoppers. In fact, millennials tend to be on the other side of the spectrum: 36 percent of the light shopper category (the bottom 40 percent of consumers, based on the amount of time spent shopping online per month) is made up of millennials.
It’s also important for retailers and advertisers to identify the “super shopper,” a consumer who falls into the top 20th percentile of users based on time spent shopping online. In this case the super shopper is a 47-year-old woman with a household income under $50,000 who spends 44 hours per month (nearly two whole days) shopping online, spending the majority of her time on Amazon.com, eBay, Walmart and Craigslist. This goes against the notion that online shopping is only for high-income audiences; it's now the norm for consumers spanning all demographic segments.
Popular Times and Brands for Online Shopping
Timing is everything, especially with virtual shopping carts. Distinct patterns and trends can be found when analyzing data around the times of day that attract the most online shoppers. For example, the biggest increase in online shoppers occurs from the hours of 6 a.m. - 10 a.m., with continued activity throughout the day, until a significant drop off at 10 p.m.
Although not much of a surprise, Amazon continues to dominate as the most popular online shopping site throughout the day, with its impressive 184 million average daily users. Second to Amazon is Target, with 82 million average daily users, followed by Groupon (67 million average daily users), Macy’s (38 million average daily users), and Wish (25 million average daily users). Despite these retailers experiencing spikes in usage — Target with a surge on Sundays, and Wish users primarily shopping on the weekend — Amazon attracts the lion’s share of consumer time online, making it tough for competitors to match Amazon’s sales.
Looking Ahead: The Future of E-Commerce
In the world of online shopping and e-commerce, it’s critical to harness the growing audience of constantly connected consumers amid a growing set of distractions, which require a more creative, tactical approach to messaging and engagement. Because e-commerce presents one of the biggest opportunities for monetization, consumer goods companies, brands, retailers and other advertisers need to ensure they understand the full scope of consumer behavior to truly identify which digital touchpoints influence and drive revenue growth. Leveraging important insights like these, retailers and advertisers can create messaging and experiences that echo the thoughts and beliefs of their target audience, at all points along the consumer journey.
Hannu Verkasalo is the CEO and founder of Verto Analytics, a company that measures cross-platform consumer behavior.
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