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New Report Confirms What Drives Shoppers to Make Online Purchases

Annie Laukaitis

2023 Global Consumer Trends Report

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According to eMarketer, global ecommerce sales will exceed $6 trillion in 2024. Clearly, it goes without saying that online shopping has become the go-to experience for many consumers. Of course competition has also grown — especially as current economic conditions have driven many consumers to reign in their spending. 

This means retailers must deliver a great shopping experience and exceed customers’ expectations. But how can you do that? And where should you focus your efforts?

In our latest Global Consumer Trends Report, BigCommerce and Retail Dive surveyed more than 1,300 individuals across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa who make at least one online purchase per month. 

Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find in the report, along with strategies that can help you build stronger relationships with your customers.

Consumers prefer shopping online over in-person

That’s right — online shopping has taken the world by storm and isn’t going anywhere. 

We asked survey respondents to identify their shopping preference, and we learned that 39% of respondents prefer shopping online, while 21% would rather shop in-person.

This is largely due to the convenience and flexibility that comes with online shopping. Shoppers are also starting to see the value in exclusive discounts and free gifts that are unique to the online shopping experience.

Most shoppers are making multiple online purchases per month

We found the majority of respondents (76%) make purchases through websites, apps, or social media at least twice per month. On top of that, almost half (49%) of shoppers make at least one online purchase per week.

Additionally, the majority of these purchases come from the apparel and accessories (47%), health and beauty (40%), and restaurant and grocery (36%) industries.

When it comes to the categories consumers are shopping on a subscription basis, groceries took the top spot (30%), followed by entertainment (22%) and cosmetics/body care (21%).

Shoppers expect free shipping

Free shipping is an expectation for many online shoppers — not a perk

In fact, 40% of survey respondents said one of the major drawbacks of online shopping is having to pay extra for shipping fees. The other drawback, noted by 35% of respondents, is having to pay return fees.

Over the course of three months, 26% of respondents said they abandoned an online shopping cart solely due to the cost of shipping. 

If you charge a separate shipping fee, consider evaluating ways to minimize the cost or offer shipping promotions.

Consumers are doing their research

Online shoppers are making purchases through a variety of mediums, whether they’re through the retailer’s app (54%), a mobile website (50%), or desktop website (49%).

But to find the product they need, consumers conduct their own research. The majority of these searches are taking place on mobile devices (61%), with desktop web (57%) and marketplace (57%) searches following close behind.

However, not only are consumers conducting research to find the products they’re looking for, but they’re also making price comparisons against competing retailers. We found that 95% of consumers surveyed claim they compare prices before purchasing a product.

If you can’t beat your competitors when it comes to price, there are other ways to make your online store stand out. Creating a streamlined user experience and robust marketing strategy will draw in shoppers and set you apart from competing retailers.

Consumers are using Buy Now, Pay Later at checkout

Out of the 1,307 shoppers surveyed, 23% reported they’ve used Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). While the majority of respondents use credit or debit cards at checkout (93%), there is a growing interest in BNPL payment methods. 

As more people talk about BNPL, it will become a more popular payment method among shoppers. Get ahead of the trend and start offering BNPL to consumers at checkout.

The final word

Consumers want an online shopping experience that exceeds their expectations. Creating this for your shoppers will build brand loyalty and leave them coming back for more. Listen and understand the habits of your buyers so that you can adapt your business and grow your online sales.

Download our Global Consumer Trends Report to take a deep dive into the minds of today’s consumers and learn what’s motivating them to purchase from your online store.

Annie Laukaitis

Annie is a Content Marketing Writer at BigCommerce, where she uses her writing and research experience to create compelling content that educates ecommerce retailers. Before joining BigCommerce, Annie developed her skills in marketing and communications by working with clients across various industries, ranging from government to staffing and recruiting. When she’s not working, you can find Annie on a yoga mat, with a paintbrush in her hand, or trying out a new local restaurant.