Surprise: In Some Areas, Americans Think They’ll Shop More Offline in the Future

February 25, 2020

MiQ Frequency Online Purchases Across Categories Feb2020With retail e-commerce sales in the US continuing to grow at double-digit rates, it may come as a surprise that some consumers are actually looking to spend more offline in the future in certain categories, per a recent study [download page] by MiQ.

When consumers in the US were asked whether, considering their current habits, they would prefer to shop more online or offline in the future across the 6 categories listed, 3 of these areas had a higher preference for offline shopping, namely:

  • Food and Groceries – 46% would prefer to shop more offline, vs. 17% who would prefer to shop more online.
  • Household Goods – 34% more offline; 20% more online.
  • Clothing – 33% more offline; 24% more online.

Whether this preference will play out in actual shopping behavior is yet to be seen. Figures show that US CPG e-commerce sales grew by three-quarters in just 2 years, while apparel shoppers are attracted by convenience and free shipping. However, when it comes to food, only 42% of first-time online grocery shoppers report that buying online had saved them time.

Even with a desire for more offline shopping in these categories, online purchases are still prevalent. At the bottom, adults respondents in the US estimated making their Food and Groceries purchases online almost one-third (29%) of the time, with even higher figures for Household Goods (35%) and Clothing (38%).

Meanwhile, the top 3 categories by reported frequency of online purchases were Travel (44% of the time), Consumer Electronics and Technology (40%) and Entertainment (39%). More Americans report the desire to shop for Travel online than offline (33% vs. 20%) in the future, while the two latter categories reported no or little difference in preference.

In all categories, barring Entertainment, American shoppers reported buying online more frequently than those surveyed globally. That being said, American shoppers are also less likely to be satisfied with online shopping in all categories:

  • Travel – 57% of Americans satisfied vs. global average of 67%;
  • Clothing – 52% vs. 62%;
  • Food and Groceries – 38% vs. 52%;
  • Consumer Electronics and Technology – 57% vs. 67%;
  • Household Goods – 50% vs. 61%;
  • Entertainment – 59% vs. 66%.

On a related note, last year’s figures from the American Customer Satisfaction Index show that satisfaction in e-commerce has taken a hit. So, however the purchasing behaviors of consumers evolve, retailers and merchants of all stripes will need to keep up with growing expectations.

About the Data: Figures are based on a June 2019 survey of 1,018 US adults (18+). Other markets surveyed included the UK, China, India, Canada, Germany, Australia and Singapore (4,612 adults total).

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