This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Online shopping statistics show that while brick-and-mortar purchases still make up a majority of consumer spending, online shopping is steadily on the rise. And, with the added strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on in-store shopping, many legacy brick-and-mortar chains are struggling. Meanwhile, a crop of new small businesses, direct-to-consumer retailers, and ecommerce startups are gaining popularity with shoppers.
We’ve gathered 45 online shopping stats, along with their key takeaways, broken into nine categories:
Online Shopping Basics
1. More than 263 million American consumers shop online
According to Statista figures, more than 263 million American consumers shop online—some 80% of the population—and this number is projected to climb to 291.2 million by 2025. The most popular online shopping categories in the US are fashion and media and electronics.
2. Millennials are the largest group of online shoppers in the US
Millennials aged 25 to 34 comprised 20.2% of online shoppers in the US as of February 2020. The second-largest online shopper demographic was 35- to 44-year-olds, which accounted for 17.2% of US digital buyers.
3. More than 55% of US consumers prefer to shop online
A 2022 Raydiant study on US consumer behavior reports that 56.6% of survey respondents prefer to shop online rather than in person. That is an approximately 10% jump from 2020’s stats.
- It’s no longer enough to just be a brick-and-mortar retailer. There are a number of ways to add an online store component, which allows you to reach a larger customer base than a traditional retail store alone.
- Although the growth rate of ecommerce should not be ignored, in-store shopping will not completely go away. Instead, it will evolve. A hybrid online/traditional shopping experience will commence. We are seeing it happen with curbside pickup, click and collect, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence (AI) assistants.
- There’s still a need for in-person interactions, both for customers who don’t use the internet and those who do. Explore events, markets, pop-up shops, and other in-person retail activities to appeal to all groups.
- Your permanent retail store is still important. Focus on creating an in-store experience that’s synonymous with and builds on the online experience—acting as a fulfillment center for customers who buy online and pick up in-store.
Online Shopping Features & Priorities
4. Nearly 80% of online buyers shop at least once a month
A survey shows that online shopping happens frequently for global consumers—with 22% shopping online once a week, 27% shopping once every two weeks, and 29% shopping once a month.
5. Direct home delivery is the primary reason for consumers to shop online
A hassle-free shopping experience is the primary reason consumers buy online, with 54% citing direct home delivery as a good reason to buy an item online. Cheaper prices, round-the-clock availability, and a more extensive product range also make the list.
6. Free delivery is the leading incentive to drive purchases online
In 2020, 53% of consumers said that free delivery would increase the likelihood of purchasing products online. A notable 35% also cited reviews from other customers and 33% mentioned easy returns policies.
7. The average spend of an online shopper in the US is $3.46 per visit
In the second quarter of 2021, online shoppers spent an average of $3.46 per visit across retail industry sectors such as luxury, active and general apparel, health and beauty, and home and appliances.
8. Nearly half of consumers research major purchases online
A consumer’s buying journey begins online, with 59% doing web research when planning a major purchase, to ensure they are making the best possible choice.
9. Nearly three-quarters of in-store shoppers search online before visiting stores
In-store shopping is still important. However, customers look for a seamless online to in-store buying experience. Some 70% of shoppers factor in the availability of physical stores when buying. In fact, 74% of in-store buyers said that they searched online for something in-store-related first—such as the closest store near them, locations, in stock near them, hours, directions, wait times, and contact information—with 46% confirming inventory online before going to the store.
10. 57% of online shoppers go to Amazon when searching for products
Amazon is slowly outranking search engines when it comes to product searches and shopping inspiration. A Wunderman Thompson study in 2021 shows that 57% of consumers go to Amazon when searching for products, while only 31% turn to search engines. Even social media outranked search engines, with 33%.
11. Nearly 50% of shoppers prioritize good search and navigation features
Forty-five percent of US shoppers cite making products easy to find as an important factor of the online shopping experience. Have a prominent search bar on every page of your website (preferably with an autocomplete feature) and set up navigation that includes categories and subcategories. Also consider having products appear alongside related products.
12. Online consumers read up to half a dozen product reviews before making purchase decisions
It has become increasingly important for online shoppers to check product reviews and read up on a business or service before spending money. In 2021, more than 70% of online shoppers typically read one to 10 customer reviews before making a purchasing decision. Less than 10% did not have a habit of reading customer reviews before buying.
13. 75% of younger consumers want financing options for online purchases
Solutions that allow customers to buy now and pay later (BNPL)—such as Klarna, Affirm, Splitit, and Sezzle—and offer monthly installment plans help increase online shopping sales. Seventy-five percent of consumers (mostly from Gen-Z and millennials) are interested in monthly payment plans.
Learn which BNPL statistics are shaping the retail world in 2022.
14. Shop local trends continue as 70% of consumers shop small business websites
Intuit surveyed 1,500 consumers, finding that 70% are supporting local businesses by shopping online only, or a mix of online and in-store. Many shoppers (57%) buy local to keep money in their local communities, while some like supporting local creators (38%) and local nonprofits (19%). Better customer service is also a reason for shipping local, cited by more than a quarter of respondents.
- Free shipping is one of the leading drivers of online sales. Learn how to offer free shipping on your products.
- A seamless buyer’s journey, social proof (reviews), and good website navigation are all part of a great online store. Read our tips on how to grow your ecommerce business.
- Learn how to offer customer financing and BNPL options to your customers.
- Starting a blog on your site is one of our recommended ecommerce marketing strategies. You may use it to provide valuable information for research purposes or highlight local products and artisans.
Online Shopping Technologies
15. Mobile commerce is expected to account for almost 45% of US retail ecommerce sales by 2025
Mobile commerce (mcommerce) revenue hit $359.32 billion in 2021, an increase of 15.2% from 2020. Forecasts show that by 2025, mcommerce sales should more than double to reach $728.28 billion. And it will account for 44.2% of retail ecommerce sales in the US.
16. The average order value is 30% higher on a desktop vs mobile
While many shoppers are turning to mobile shopping, they’re still placing larger orders when they shop on traditional devices like desktop computers. In fact, in the third quarter of 2021, the average value of an order placed on a desktop was 30% higher than the average mobile phone order.
17. Nine out of 10 shoppers believe the mobile shopping experience can be improved
It is no longer enough that websites are accessible from mobile devices—it takes more than that to succeed at mcommerce. Some 90% of consumers believe mobile shopping can be improved, with only 12% of consumers, for example, finding mcommerce convenient.
Some of the impediments to mobile shopping are security concerns (42%), pages and links being too small to click on (67%), interruptions from messages, apps, and other programs (36%), and difficulty finding what shoppers are looking for (36%).
18. Digital wallet payments are now as popular as credit card payments
Thirty percent of respondents in a Statista survey stated they would like to pay using their smartphones all the time. Digital payments are now tied with credit cards as the most preferred way of paying online.
19. Two-thirds of consumers would shop more if they used AR apps
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality have the potential to increase buyer confidence by making it easier to envision product details. This can ultimately lead to increased brand loyalty and higher-value sales. In fact, according to a consumer marketing experience study, 71% said they would shop more if they used AR apps, and 61% would probably choose a store that offers AR.
20. “Gamification” boosts engagement and encourages spending
The retail industry is an early adopter of “gamified” solutions, holding a 28.6% market share and expected to grow further by 25% between 2020 and 2025. Since online shopping can lack the interactive experience of in-store shopping, “gamification” amps up the hype by encouraging customer behavior (such as spending more) in exchange for additional benefits.
For example, according to data from a recent “Gamification” Market report, customer acquisition can grow as much as 700% with “gamification.” Walgreens employed “gamification” tactics and reported an increase in engagement and loyalty by 30%.
Examples of “gamification” methods include promotional contests, spin-to-win opportunities, and tiered VIP loyalty programs.
21. Voice shopping experienced more than 100% growth in 2021
According to Voicebot’s Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report 2021, over 45 million US consumers used voice technology for their shopping experience in 2021, from just a little over 20 million in 2018—constituting 120% growth.
Online store retailers should implement voice search strategies such as a strong SEO strategy, product feature and review videos, and a focus on delivering a seamless buying experience since voice assistants still crawl through Google to make customer suggestions. If your business has the capacity, invest in developing a voice assistant for your online store.
- Your desktop and mobile sites are equally important. Using an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify makes it easy to create a responsive, mobile-optimized experience for all online shoppers.
- Eliminate distractions in your product images and make sure they stand out and are clear to see, even on small devices. Learn how to take high-quality product photos.
- Try to be detailed but concise when writing descriptions for your products. Customers tend to quickly scan items on mobile devices, so ensuring they scroll less when reading descriptions can help increase online conversions. Learn to write product descriptions that sell.
- Enabling your customers to use digital wallets encourages them to spend because of its ease of use and increased security (remember security concerns account for 42% of mobile shopping impediments).
- Leverage technology to enhance the ecommerce journey. Visual search makes it easy for shoppers to find your product, and AR/VR technology allows them to have a deeper product experience—one of the things lacking when it comes to ecommerce. You can also create a virtual tour of your store to entice shoppers to visit.
22. US social commerce sales are expected to reach $45.74 billion in 2022
In 2022, it is forecast that more than half of the adults in the US will make a purchase via social media, pushing social commerce sales to $45.74 billion. Among those who haven’t made a purchase, 44% prefer to deal directly with a retailer and 43% don’t trust social platforms with their payment information.
23. Facebook is the leading social platform for online purchases
An April 2021 survey revealed that 51% of respondents purchased from Facebook often, with over 47% social media users aged 16 to 34 saying they had purchased products or services on Instagram.
24. More than half of internet users aged 18 to 34 have made a purchase via social media
As of late 2020, 39% of 18- to 34-year-olds have purchased through social media, and 15% more do so regularly. In total, 35% of all US adults report having made a purchase through social media (an 8% increase from April 2020). Insider Intelligence forecasts that social commerce will increase 24.9% in 2022.
25. 31% of US consumers use social media to discover products
According to the 2021 Shopper Experience Index from Bazaarvoice, nearly one-third of consumers in the United States rely on social media to learn about new products. In another survey from Net Solutions, 55% of respondents have purchased a product online after discovering it on social media (11% purchased immediately; 44% purchased later).
26. Seven out of 10 shoppers are influenced by friends’ social media posts and reviews
Social commerce is mostly driven by influencer marketing, mainly banking on user-generated content (UGC). UGC has been proven to be more effective in brand advertising, as 71% of US consumers said that posts from friends or acquaintances on social media were influential in their purchasing decisions.
27. Purchases via social media are becoming more common
Younger generations are already making online purchases via social media, and it looks like this trend is here to stay. According to an eMarketer study, the number of social buyers in the US is expected to rise from 60.6 million in 2019 to 108 million in 2025—a more than 75% increase over just a few years.
- Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms consumers use for purchasing online. Reach these shoppers by setting up a Facebook Shop and using it to create a shoppable Instagram page. These platforms also provide many tools for listing products and creating ads to help drive more sales.
- Mix your social content with engagement and promotional posts. You don’t want your audience to feel overwhelmed with too much marketing and advertising.
- Read our guides on social media marketing and how to collaborate with influencers.
Importance of Shipping
28. US click and collect sales reached more than $70 billion in 2020
Click and collect is gaining popularity with shoppers, with over nine out of 10 shoppers deeming the option convenient. This is because the model allows consumers to browse and compare products from the comfort of their homes and pick up the product immediately without having to wait or pay for shipping. In 2020, eMarketer reported $72.46 billion in click and collect sales in the US, and it is predicted to exceed $140 billion by 2024.
Because BOPIS and click and collect are such big trends, many POS systems now come with those order fulfillment capabilities built-in, plus additional omnichannel sales tools.
29. Online shoppers expect two- to three-day shipping
According to Shippo’s annual State of Shipping report, the most popular delivery window for online shoppers is two to three days—48% of consumers and 41% of merchants prefer it. Additionally, 18% of consumers want same- or next-day delivery.
30. Only 10% of shoppers don’t care about shipping cost
According to Shippo, 83% of consumers prefer stores that offer free shipping. Of those surveyed, 33% would only purchase online with free shipping. Only 10% of shoppers surveyed reported not caring about shipping costs at all.
In spite of the value of free shipping to many consumers, only 22% of merchants always offer free shipping—a 10% decrease from 2020.
31. Half of online shoppers care most about free shipping on returns
Free shipping is the most important consideration when it comes to returning a purchase for 50% of US online shoppers. In contrast, 31% of shoppers care most about the ease of processing a return. Studies show that 67% of shoppers check a merchant’s return policy before making a purchase, and 92% will buy from the brand again if it’s easy to make a return.
- If foot traffic is slow or your retail store is closed, then consider using it as a fulfillment or warehouse space. Adopt new processes like curbside pickup, local delivery, or click and collect to encourage more sales.
- Shop around with different carriers to find the most cost-effective option. Remember to balance budget and delivery time. You can also consider allowing the customer to choose from various shipping options.
- Encourage customers to shop by having a clearly communicated return policy that includes free shipping. Display it on your website footer, product pages, and FAQ section.
32. 80% of online shopping carts are abandoned
For small online retailers, it can take a lot of advertising to bring new customers to your website. However, getting shoppers to your site is only a small step toward converting them into paying customers. You need them to add your products to their shopping cart and complete the checkout process. But on average, 80% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.
33. Abandoned cart emails see a 15% conversion rate
Abandoned cart emails are simple to set up and automate, and it can be an easy opportunity to seal the deal. According to Barilliance, cart abandonment emails earn an average 15.22% conversion rate.
- Don’t forget to customize the checkout experience when you build your online store. Create as few steps as possible to make it easy for shoppers to complete a purchase.
- Incorporate automated abandoned cart emails into your retail email marketing strategy. Once you set it up, the email will be automatically sent without manually triggering the follow-up campaign each time. This is one of the easiest and most passive ways to increase online sales.
- See our full guide on shopping cart abandonment statistics for more information on how to reduce your abandonment rate.
Online Shopping on Amazon
34. Amazon is the most visited online retail website in the world
Amazon registers 2 billion monthly visits in the US alone—this figure is thrice the monthly visits of eBay, which trails behind at second place with close to 700 million monthly visits.
35. Shoppers are more likely to buy from Amazon than elsewhere
Not only do about half of consumers visit Amazon at least once a week, they are also extremely loyal to the platform. More than half of US shoppers start their purchase journey on Amazon as well, with 63% of them doing product searches on the platform first before doing so on search engines.
36. Most internet users shop on Amazon because it offers everything they need
Consumers report a number of reasons for shopping at Amazon when making online purchases. The biggest reason US consumers shop at Amazon is because it offers everything they need (66%), followed closely by receiving free shipping because of Prime membership (55%).
- Though Amazon may not be a core part of your strategy, it’s a helpful tool to drive online sales and build brand/product awareness. Amazon already has brand recognition and trust, so shoppers unfamiliar with your brand are more likely to trust a purchase through Amazon than directly from you.
- Consider selling a select few products on Amazon and keeping the rest exclusive to your store and website. Include extra benefits for shopping directly, like referral codes, customer rewards, and discounts.
The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Ecommerce
37. US ecommerce experienced nearly 15% growth in 2021
With pandemic restrictions easing and people starting to feel more comfortable shopping in stores, US ecommerce revenues for 2021 were lower than in 2020 as a percentage of overall sales. However, ecommerce still grew by 14.2% that year.
38. Online grocery spending has not decreased despite restrictions easing up
Online grocery ordering became the norm during the pandemic and it shows no signs of stopping. Even with restrictions easing up, roughly one out of every two households in the US placed an online order for groceries in 2021, registering $97.7 billion in sales via pickup, delivery, and ship-to-home channels.
39. Shift from need-buying to indulgence-shopping post-pandemic
According to a McKinsey report, 51% of US consumers have expressed the desire to splurge and indulge after restrictions eased up—with the sentiment building up since February 2021. Overall optimism that the economy will rebound and recover has slowly been increasing, increasing from 34% in July 2020 to 44% in October 2021.
40. There has been noticeable shifts in consumer shopping behavior, and these changes are likely to stay
Consumers prioritize convenience, shift to value, and will continue to support brands that share the same values.
- Omnichannel experiences, such as the ability for consumers to purchase online and pick up their orders in store, increase store visits by 80%. Global searches for “along my route” (+1,000%) and “curbside pickup” (+3,000%) are indicative that consumers will most likely choose retailers who offer more fulfillment options.
- Shoppers are also starting to spend their money on businesses whose values align with theirs. Google reports that searches for ethical brands and ethical online shopping in 2020 grew 300% and 600%, respectively. This is further validated by an Accenture survey that says 45% of consumers have started to make more sustainable purchases in 2020 and expressed intent to continue doing so.
Learn how shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic changed customer preferences and how your business can adapt to the changes.
- Though the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the retail industry, it has also revealed new opportunities for brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce sites alike.
- One advantage of being a small business is that you’re more nimble than big-box retailers. You can more quickly adapt to new trends, guidelines, restrictions, and customer behaviors.
- As more shoppers expect a seamless shopping experience, ensure that your business can adapt to a multichannel or omnichannel retail environment.
- Brand loyalty might have waned but there are still ways to foster customer loyalty and build a loyalty program.
- Now that consumers are excited to spend, ramp up your online marketing efforts to increase online sales.
Online Shopping During the Holiday Season
41. 2021 brought the first $200+ billion holiday season in the US
This record-breaking spend is a 44% growth from 2019 and 8.6% from 2021. The retail sector reported more than $3 billion in revenue for 38 days, compared to 25 days in 2021.
Here are some more key findings from the Adobe Digital Insights 2021 Holiday Shopping Results report:
- Inflation and supply chain issues resulted in less seasonal discounts (savings of $9 per $100 vs $14 per $100 in 2020).
- There were only two categories that gave big discounts in 2021—apparel and toys.
- Products and categories that produced up to three times their preseason sales were toys, video games, gift cards, and books.
- BNPL services’ popularity reached new heights with more consumers taking advantage of deferred payments—an almost 500% growth from 2019.
42. US consumers spent $33.9 billion online during Cyber 5—a 1.4% year-over-year decrease
The five-day stretch from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, known as Cyber 5, fell short of the 2020’s digital revenue of $34.36 billion but still reflects a 19% increase over the more normal pre-pandemic spending levels in 2019.
This isn’t surprising, as research firms such as Digital Commerce 360 projected a slowdown in ecommerce growth during the Cyber 5 because of rising costs and supply chain issues. Those reasons, coupled with more shoppers doing in-store shopping in 2021, meant digital revenue wasn’t able to increase this year.
However, it is worth noting that nearly half of US shoppers (49%) took advantage of early holiday sales before Cyber 5. NRF reports that retailers were honest about the status of the overall retail environment (like inventory shortages), creating incentives for consumers to shop early—and shoppers responded.
43. Cyber Monday is still the biggest online shopping day of 2021, with consumers spending a day’s worth during its Golden Hours
Cyber Monday claimed the top spot among all Cyber 5 shopping days for online revenue and is the biggest online shopping day of the year to date, hitting $10.69 billion in sales.
In fact, during its Golden Hours (7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific time), consumers spent a day’s worth of shopping—over $2.8 billion, which is nearly 50% more compared to the $1.9 billion spent on an average day in August. The Golden Hours brought in over 26% of the day’s revenue compared to an average of 14% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Did you know?
More than 80% of the top 100 online retailers offered a sale on Cyber Monday. Interestingly, discounts were offered a week before Cyber 5 and at the same discount level. This confirms the holiday sales trend of spreading out sales over the holiday season instead of offering it during Cyber 5.
44. 40% of holiday shoppers in the US are considering shopping earlier for 2022
Despite having a year to prepare, consumers still received an all-time high of 6 billion out-of-stock notifications in 2021—an increase of 253% over 2019 and 10% over 2020. Stock issues have been in consumer’s mind, with over 50% of shoppers planning to shop earlier to avoid purchasing an out-of-stock item.
This trend will most likely continue this year. Last year, 31% of US shoppers started their holiday shopping in June, and 37% of shoppers who shopped last holiday season wished they had started shopping earlier.
45. 43% of online retail sales for the entire holiday season were done from smartphones
Consumers continue to show increased reliance on smartphones for shopping. Data shows that in 2021, retailers saw 50% or more of their sales from smartphones on six days of the holiday season vs only one day (Christmas Day) in 2020 that exceeded 50%.
- Start early. Create a holiday retail gift guide and disseminate it to your customers via email, brochures, and direct mail.
- Capitalize on the holiday sale season. Think of creative ideas for promos.
- Plan ahead, and use our recommended strategies and sales tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Offer customer financing with BNPL merchant apps.
- Improve your mobile shopping experience.
- Stay focused on Cyber 5 weekend—ensure your website is ready to handle the traffic surge and your support hotline able to take in inquiries and customer requests.
- Manage logistics. Provide multiple fulfillment options including curbside pickup and BOPIS.
- Learn more about Black Friday and Cyber Monday statistics to prepare for the 2022 holiday season.
Online shopping statistics show that having a digital presence is critical for retail businesses. It’s more than just a place to sell your products—consumers are also using retail websites and social media to discover products, read reviews, and compare pricing before making a purchase online or offline.
Online shopping may have experienced a surge due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it isn’t going anywhere. Learn how to take your online sales to the next level.
You May Also Like …
- Find the best ecommerce platform for your business, and learn how to create an online store.
- Learn how to use your POS system to manage customers, products, and orders across all channels.
- Read our guide to credit card processing.
- To learn more about how customers like to buy and what it takes to turn a passive browser into an active customer, read our full report on payment industry trends for small businesses.