Online shopping rises 40% in two years

Over 875 million consumers worldwide have shopped online in the past two years, increasing the online shopping market by 40%.

According to the latest Nielsen Global Online Survey on internet shopping habits, conducted by research company Nielsen, more than half of internet users worldwide have made at least one purchase online in the past month.

“When the Nielsen company conducted its first global survey into internet shopping trends two years ago, approximately 10% of the world’s population had shopped online,” said Bruce Paul, vice president of customised research at Nielsen US. “Within two years, this number has increased by approximately 40%.”

Among internet users, the highest online shopping percentage is found in South Korea, where 99% of those with internet access have used it to shop, followed by Britain (97%), Germany (97%) and Japan (97%) – the US ranked eighth, at 94%. Apparently Australia did not rate in the top 10.

Globally, the most popular and purchased items over the internet are books (41% purchased in the past three months), clothing/accessories/shoes (36%), videos/DVDs/games (24%), airline tickets (24%) and electronic equipment (23%). The biggest increase has been in the clothing/accessories/shoes sector, with an increase from 20% to 36%.

“Some of the biggest buyers of books on the internet are from developing countries – China, Brazil, Vietnam and Egypt – indicating massive growth potential for online retailers that can specifically target these fast-growing markets,” said Jonathan Carson, president, international, Nielsen online.

Credit cards are by far the most common method of payment for online purchases – 60% of global online consumers used their credit card for a recent online purchase, while one in four online consumers chose PayPal. Turkish online shoppers, who represent the economic elite in that country, topped global rankings for credit card usage (91%) for online purchases followed by 86% of Irish online shoppers and 84% of Indian and UAE online shoppers.

“Shopping on the internet with the ease of a credit card is especially appealing to consumers in emerging markets who simply cannot find or buy items they want in their retail trade. The internet has opened up a whole new world of shopping for these consumers,” said Bruce Paul.

According to Nielsen, online shoppers tend to stick to the shopping sites they are familiar with, with 60% saying they buy mostly from the same site.

“This shows the importance of capturing the tens of millions of new online shoppers as they make their first purchases on the internet. If shopping sites can capture them early, and create a positive shopping experience, they will likely capture their loyalty and their money,” Paul said.

In selecting sites on which to shop, one-third used a search engine or just surfed around to find the best online store. One in four relied on personal recommendations.

“Recommendations from fellow consumers, whether they are people they know or fellow online shoppers, play an enormous role in the decision-making process. The explosion in consumer-generated media over the last year means that this reliance on word of mouth, over other forms of referral, looks set to increase,” said Carson.

The most popular shopping website has been eBay, followed by Amazon and Target.

Inside Retailing



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