The up-and-down economy in recent years has affected different groups in different ways. That couldn’t be more clear than in a recent PriceGrabber survey (as reported by Internet Retailer), in which 28% of surveyed shoppers plan to spend less online this year, 21% plan to spend more, and 51% plan to spend the same amount.
The result is a pretty static bell curve of spending—the top quarter will spend more, the bottom quarter will spend less, and the middle will stay the same. It seems to reflect consumer uncertainty about the coming year; it also may include some negative halo effect as shoppers are still feeling the pinch from their holiday spending. The survey was conducted in January and February of this year, with 933 online shoppers.
The survey lends a few particular insights worth noting:
- It’s the discounts: The report indicates that those who plan to spend more online this year do so because they expect better discounts online. That’s a nugget worth storing away—while we all strive to deliver better experiences online, many shoppers are still simply seeking price advantages. 36% of respondents who said they’ll spend more in 2012 will do so because of discounts; 46% of all respondents plan to use daily deals more this year.
- It’s a gas: Gas prices are responsible for two different shifts. It was reported last year that rising gas prices are driving consumers to shop online to minimize extra driving, but the new survey suggests that spendy gas is also cutting into discretionary income. 40% of respondents that said they will spend less this year blame rising prices for gas, food, and other necessities.
- It’s all online: Regardless of whether spending goes up or not, the survey indicates that the average shopper will make 53% of their purchases online (more than half!) as opposed to 42% in physical stores. Surprisingly low is shopping from mobile devices, which accounts for only the remaining 5%.
The fact that the survey doesn’t point to a reliable future makes planning difficult for eCommerce store owners in the short-term, but doesn’t change the long-range outlook. Time Magazine suggests that when Internet prices are combined with free shipping, shoppers have even less reason to choose brick and mortar.
Ultimately, shopping continues to migrate online. And hopefully that’s not news to anyone.