Face-​to-​Face Interaction Drives In-​Store Shopping

Recent Harris Poll research drives home the point that online shopping has become ubiquitous across the U.S. Consumers are buying online in every category. While younger consumers have been quick to embrace digital shopping, especially with mobile devices, older consumers make purchases online at a higher rate for some product categories. Despite this euphoria, consumers say they still like the in-​person shopping experience.

The Harris data shows that clothing (69%) and digital content (59%) are the most popular items for online purchase.  The penetration rate for some categories, like over-​the-​counter medications (18%) and general food purchases (15%) is much lower.  In most categories, Gen Xers outpace other generations when it comes to shopping online.  However, Matures have come to see the benefit of online commerce with 40% having purchased their prescription medication through this channel.

But a significant number of consumers avoid e‑commerce. The percentages are highest for groceries (78%), OTC medications (67%), and apparel (65%). Researchers say one problem area is shipping costs. More consumers would shop online if shipping and returns were free. However, that’s not the only problem.

Apparel remains a trouble spot with nearly 40% complaining about articles which don’t resemble what was pictured online. 16% don’t want to be automatically added to a mailing list after making a online purchase and 15% don’t like to have to order more than one size at the same time  to ensure fit. While shipping costs cause consumers to hesitate to make an online purchase, some people don’t want to wait for the product to arrive. This attitude ensures the safety of bricks and mortar stores for some time to come.

About 20% of all U.S. adults have not made an online purchase in the last 12 months. AudienceSCAN data indicates that the chief reason for hesitation among e‑commerce avoiders is security. These consumers do not want to put their credit card information online. About half of these consumers will be purchasing either men’s or women’s apparel in the next 12 months. And, 29% will be in the market for new eyeglasses. Traditional retailers can reach these shoppers with ad campaigns at movie theaters, on the radio, and through direct mail. This audience showed a higher than average response rate to ads in these formats in the past 30 days.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.