Despite shopping in general being down, online shopping has increased. According to new data from The Checkout, a newsletter that compiles data from the ongoing shopper experience study currently underway by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, 73% of shoppers who are buying more online are NOT shopping more — they are just shopping differently.
"The number one reason why people decide to purchase online is to get a better deal. This is no surprise. When shoppers hunt for a singular item online, they search for a good price, attractive shipping options, and then they buy," said Randy Wahl, executive vice president, M/A/R/C Research.
While younger generations (18–24 year-olds) appear more comfortable shopping online, they continue to stick with 'safe' purchases in categories that historically, are purchased online (electronics, clothing, books and music). The surprise comes from the boomer shopper segment. When considering the somewhat newer CPG online shopping world (health, beauty, food, beverage), it's the older shoppers making these purchases. Although Gen Y may be increasing their overall online shopping (more than twice as many compared to 50–64 year-olds), they are not as quick to adopt when it comes to experimenting with making purchases in new categories. This behavior also seems to surface with marital status—married individuals are 58% more likely to buy food and beverage products online than single individuals.
"Categories that require hunting for multiple items at once, like food and beverage or health and beauty, introduces a new online buying mentality," said Craig Elston, senior vice president, Integer. "The concept of completing standard grocery shopping online is still new for most of us, and manufacturers and e‑tailers need to understand that there are conventions ingrained in shopper behavior that they must disrupt."
Overall, the majority of shoppers still have trouble adapting to the world of online CPG. In the food and beverage category, nearly half of shoppers are currently saying they "haven't and never will" buy this category online.[Source: Data from The Checkout. The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research. 12 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 Jan. 2011.]