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. Many legacy brick-and-mortar chains are struggling to stay open. Meanwhile, a crop of new small businesses, direct to consumer retailers, and ecommerce startups are gaining popularity with shoppers.
We’ve gathered over 30 online shopping statistics, along with their key takeaways, broken up into eight categories:
How Many People Shop Online, Devices and Technology, Social Commerce, Shipping and Fulfillment, Cart Abandonment, What People Buy Online, Amazon, and COVID-19.
How Many People Use the Internet and Shop Online
1. 26% of American adults are ‘almost constantly’ online
More than a quarter of U.S. adults report being online “almost constantly,” and 43% of adults go online “several times a day.” Young adults are more likely to be constantly connected as 39% of Americans 18 to 29 are “almost constantly” online.
2. 10% of US adults don’t use the internet
In 2000, 48% of American adults didn’t use the internet at all. Today, that number is down to 10%. However, that is still 10% of the population that is only shopping in stores.
3. More than 227 million American consumers shop online
In 2019, a poll by Marist College and National Public Radio (NPR) found that 76% of all United States adults shopped online, with 25% doing so at least once a month and 16% at least once a week.
According to Statista figures, there were 227.5 million online shoppers in the US for 2020—approximately 88% of the adult population. This number is projected to climb even more, reaching an expected 230.5 million in 2021 and 278.3 million in 2024.
4. Only 10% of all shopping dollars are spent online
Even though more and more people are shopping online and with higher frequency, most spending still occurs in-store. Only 10% of all US consumer spending is done online.
5. Retail ecommerce sales surpassed $4 trillion
Globally, online sales are anticipated to reach $4.2 trillion this year. This is up from $3.5 billion in 2019. Future estimates put the total at more than $6.5 trillion in 2024.
6. 64% of consumers prefer the convenience of online shopping
The biggest draw to ecommerce for consumers is the ability to shop at whatever time is most convenient. Consumers also shop online because it’s easier to find a specific product they’re seeking.
7. More than 50% of younger consumers want financing options for online purchases
Solutions that allow customers to buy now and pay later (such as Klarna, Affirm, Splitit, and Sezzle) help increase online shopping sales. About 70% of baby boomers report that having a financing option doesn’t influence them to make a purchase they otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Generation Z and millennial shoppers buy more items or more expensive items when customer financing is available.
- It’s no longer enough to just be a brick-and-mortar retailer. There are a number of ways to add an ecommerce component. This also allows you to reach a larger customer base than your retail store typically could on its own.
- 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 activations to appeal to all groups.
- Your permanent retail store is still important too. Focus on creating an in-store experience that’s synonymous with and builds upon the online experience—acting as a fulfillment center in the case of buy online, pickup in-store.
Devices and Technology
8. Average order value (AOV) 55% higher on desktops than mobile devices
The majority of people visit retail websites on a mobile device but use a computer to finalize the purchase. And, when they do make a purchase, the average amount is 55% higher for desktop users.
According to Comscore, Shoppers are hesitant to buy on mobile because of security concerns, but more often they choose to make the final purchase on desktops because the shopping experience is simply easier to navigate, compare and example products, and input checkout details.
9. Mobile shopping expected to increase by 56%
Online shopping conducted through smartphones accounted for roughly $117 billion in the US in 2018. Sales made directly through smartphones is expected to hit $209 billion by 2022.
10. More than 64% of Amazon shoppers prefer desktop
Though mobile shopping continues to be on the rise, desktop experiences are still important. Nearly 65% of Amazon customers shop via desktop site, with just 16.6% and 13.6% using the mobile site and mobile app, respectively.
11. Mobile conversion rates are 30% higher for small businesses vs large retailers
Online shopping conversion rates are always rather low. According to BigCommerce, average ecommerce conversion rates are 1%-2%. However, small retailers could have up to 30% higher mobile conversion rates compared to large retailers.
12. More than half of shoppers are interested in visual search
Though 52% of US internet users are interested in visual search technology, only 13% of those surveyed have used it. AR/VR is also of interest. Despite just 6% of consumers having used it in the past, 39% are interested in AR/VR technology.
- Your desktop site is as important as your mobile site. Using a platform like BigCommerce makes it easy to create a responsive, mobile-optimized experience for online shoppers.
- 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.
13. 27% of shoppers have used social media to make a purchase
27% of US adults have made a purchase through social media in April 2020. 22% of adults have not tried social shopping, but are interested. However, social commerce is incredibly important for reaching younger shoppers. 48% of adults aged 18 – 34 have purchased through social media, and 11% do so regularly.
14. 78% of consumers enjoy social media shopping
The NRF reports that, of shoppers who have made a purchase through social channels such as Instagram or Facebook Shop, 78% are interested in purchasing through social media again.
Reach these shoppers by setting up a Facebook Shop, which you can then use to create a shoppable Instagram page.
- Facebook and Instagram have many tools for listing products, creating ads, building a “social store,” and more to drive sales through social media.
- Mix your social content with engagement and promotional posts. You don’t want your audience to feel overwhelmed with too much marketing and advertising.
Shipping and Fulfillment
15. 65% of shoppers like the BOPIS experience
Buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) is gaining popularity with shoppers as it allows them to browse and compare products from the comfort of their homes, and still pick up the product immediately without having to wait or pay for shipping. According to NRF, a high 85% of shoppers are aware of BOPIS, 70% of those aware of BOPIS have tried it, and 65% of those who have tried it say that BOPIS improved their shopping experience.
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. Learn how to use your POS system to offer BOPIS in our step-by-step guide to implementing click and collect.
16. Most online shoppers want 2–3 day shipping
According to Shippo’s annual State of Shipping report, the most popular delivery window for online shoppers is two to three days—54% of consumers and half of businesses prefer it. Additionally, 17% of consumers want same or next-day delivery.
17. And 75% of online shoppers expect free shipping
About three-quarters of consumers expect free shipping even on orders of less than $50. Baby boomers expect free shipping the most, with 88% of boomers expecting free shipping on orders $50 and less. Even if it means items will take longer to arrive, 90% of shoppers want free shipping.
And according to Shippo, nearly half of consumers prefer stores that offer free shipping. Of those surveyed, 27% would only purchase online with free shipping and 20% would opt for a different store that offers free shipping. However, only 21% of businesses offered free shipping in 2019, compared to 40% in 2016.
18. 39% of online shoppers also expect free returns
US consumers say they rarely (65%) or never (26%) return online purchases. Yet 39% of US online shoppers say that a free return policy influences their decision to purchase “a lot.” A free return policy impacts 37% of online shoppers’ decision to purchase “a little.”
- If foot traffic is slow or your retail store is closed, consider using it as a fulfillment or warehouse space. Adopt new processes like curbside pickup, local delivery, or BOPIS to encourage more sales.
- Shop around with different carriers to find the most cost-effective option for you. Remember to balance budget and delivery time. You can also consider allowing the customer to choose from various shipping options.
19. Almost 70% 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 more than 69% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.
20. Abandoned cart emails see an 18% conversion rate
Abandoned cart emails are simple to set up and run on automation, and it’s a good low-hanging fruit opportunity to seal the deal. According to one study conducted by Barilliance, cart abandonment emails earn an average 18.54% conversion rate. These emails also have an average 15.11% click-through rate for 2020, higher than the average 8.1% click-through rate of top-of-funnel emails.
- 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 strategy. Once you set it up, the email will automatically trigger and send so you don’t have to manually do it each time. This is one of the easiest and most passive ways to increase online sales.
What People Are Buying Online
21. Almost 80% of younger consumers impulse buy online
Of the millions of Americans who shopped online in 2018, 44% made an impulse purchase. Younger consumers make many more unplanned purchases than the average shopper. Of Generation Z consumers, 76.7% have made online impulse buys, and 78.2% of millennials have made online impulse purchases. (Source: CNBC).
22. 84% of online consumers have purchased clothes or shoes online
A total of 58% of US adults have purchased clothes or shoes online. Out of US adults that shop online, 84% have purchased shoes or clothes. Electronics are the second most popular type of product to purchase online, with 48% of all US adults having purchased a TV, computer, speaker, or headphones online.
23. Typically, only 3% of grocery sales happen online
Online grocery ordering was invented 30 years ago with Peapod yet, today, only 3% of all grocery sales happen online. Comparatively, 30% of electronic sales and 22% of apparel sales happen online.
24. Online grocery sales skyrocketed during COVID-19
During March 2020, at the start of the US Covid-19 outbreak, about half of consumers said they were shopping online for groceries because of coronavirus. While online grocery sales grew 22% in 2019, it’s expected to grow by about 40% in 2020 due to the pandemic.
25. 36% of male shoppers have purchased a $1,000+ product online
Of men who have shopped online, 36% have purchased an item that cost $1,000 or more. Only 18% of women report spending more than $1,000 on a single item when shopping online.
26. Drunk Americans spend $30 billion online annually
Drunk Americans spend $30 billion online each year. The average US consumer spent $447.57 in unplanned online purchases after drinking alcohol in 2018. This number has more than doubled since 2017.
- Always remember to tailor the online experience to your particular product or offering. Someone who is shopping for a graphic T-shirt likely needs fewer product photos and specs than someone looking for a new mountain bike.
- Consider context when promoting your products online. What’s going on in your customer’s life and the world around them, and how does that impact their shopping needs? The more you can anticipate your customers’ needs, the better. You can integrate your POS with your ecommerce site and use predictive analytics reports to forecast opportunities and demand.
27. 44% of online shoppers start at Amazon
More online shoppers turn to Amazon than Google. When looking to purchase an item online, 44% of online shoppers immediately turn to Amazon whereas 33% of shoppers start with a Google search. About 10% of shoppers start at a specific online store like Target or Walmart.
28. Almost 66% of Americans have shopped Amazon
Of all US online shoppers, close to two-thirds of all Americans, say they have purchased something from Amazon. The ecommerce giant is by far the largest online retailer.
- Though Amazon may not be a core part of your strategy, it’s a helpful tool to drive online sales and brand/product awareness. Amazon already has brand recognition and trust, so shoppers who are unfamiliar with your brand are more likely to trust a purchase through Amazon than directly from you.
- Consider selling only 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, discounts, and more.
COVID-19’s Impact on Ecommerce
29. 52% of consumers are avoiding retail stores due to COVID-19
More than half of consumers have started to avoid brick-and-mortar stores because of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, more than a third of shoppers plan to avoid retail stores altogether until a vaccine has been developed.
30. US retailers are experiencing surges in demand similar to the holidays
One analysis found that the increase in demand for ecommerce in April was similar to that which retailers experience every year during the holidays. April saw a 68% growth in year-over-year revenue, surpassing January’s 49% increase.
31. Consumers are becoming less concerned with COVID-19
Despite rising case numbers, American consumers are becoming less concerned with the pandemic. A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that as early as March, the amount of respondents who consider COVID-19 a “real threat” decreased by 10%—just over half of Americans believe it is a “real threat.” Plus, less than half of US adults modified behaviors like dining out less, canceling plans, and avoiding crowds, despite public health recommendations. While the virus spreads, consumers are still looking for ways to get out and spend money.
To learn more, read our full report on how COVID-19 Is Transforming the Shopping Experience.
- Though the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the retail industry, it has also revealed new opportunities for brick-and-mortars and ecommerce sites alike.
- One advantage of being a small business is that you’re nimbler than a big box retailer. You can more quickly adapt to new trends, guidelines, restrictions, and customer behaviors.
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.
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.