More Than 1 in 4 Global Consumers Made Their Most Recent Purchase Online

January 17, 2014

IBM-Growth-of-Online-Shopping-Channel-Jan2014A new study from IBM has found that while the store is still the retail channel of choice for a large majority of global consumers, it’s losing share to e-commerce at a rapid rate. The survey of 30,554 consumers across 16 countries found 27% of shoppers claiming that their last purchase was made online, almost double the percentage from the prior year’s survey. Interestingly, the majority of online growth was the result of consumers going directly to the internet rather than visiting a store first (showrooming).

In fact, only 8% of respondents showroomed in this year’s study. While that’s up from 6% last year, showrooming only accounted for about 30% of online purchases, compared to almost 50% last year.

The study also finds that consumers are generally willing to share their data with retailers, especially if they are able to secure some benefits in exchange. (According to this study, consumers don’t always believe that to be the case, though.) Almost 4 in 10 respondents to the IBM survey said they would share their mobile number in order to receive text messages, while 36% would share their location via GPS, and 32% would share their social handles.

Finally, IBM found that consumers can generally be segmented into 4 different groups by use of social, location, and mobile (SoLoMo) technologies while shopping. They are:

  • Traditional (19% of sample) – using the least amount of technology while shopping;
  • Transitioning (40% share) – using technology mostly for research and other information;
  • Tech-intrigued (29% share) – using SoLoMo for a range of activities from browsing to buying; and
  • Trailblazers (12% share) – using SoLoMo extensively, including to evaluate retailers.

For comparison, a new Cisco study [pdf] finds that 18% of Americans qualify as “Über Digitals” – often using mobile devices in-store and accessing other connected devices during the shopping journey.

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