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Shoppers Shift to Online

  |  November 16, 2005   |  Comments

Online shopping makes gains on bricks-and-mortar, with a large portion of shoppers buying during work hours.

The number of shoppers who buy online continues to increase, and many browse and purchase during business hours. The Internet Shopping Pulse survey from WSL Strategic Retail picked up the shift from bricks-and-mortar to retail. Analytical data from Coremetrics tracked the business day trend.

The biggest increases in online shopping since 2003, according to the Pulse study, were seen in electronics; office supplied and stationery; home furnishings; photos and photo supplies; jewelry and watches; prescriptions and greeting cards.

Browsing at online retailer sites has increased almost a full hour over the past two years. In 2003, the average shopper spent 2.4 hours shopping online, the 2005 survey records an average 3.1 hours per week. Twenty-one percent of shoppers count purchases from Internet sites as part of their overall shopping, not a supplement to in-store buys. That's a six point increase over 2003.

Online buyers find a large selection (64 percent) the number-one reason to shop online. Saving time (60 percent) ranks second, and checking for sales (51 percent) is third.

With the number of online purchases increasing, Web reporting shows the majority of purchases are made during business hours. Analytics firm Coremetrics, through its LIVEmark Index, finds retail sites receive 40 percent more visits, and 53 percent more purchases on weekdays.

The data are consistent with a recent Atlas Institute study that found Monday afternoons were the busiest time for online holiday shoppers. A previous study from the same source cited the lunchtime daypart as the best time for marketers to reach consumers online.

The Pulse report was derived from a national survey of 1,029 adults between August 25 and the first of September.

Products Purchased Online, 2003 and 2005
Product Category 2005
(%)
2003
(%)
Percentage Point Change
Books 68 69 -1
Music/DVDs 68 66 2
Travel 67 61 7
Clothes 63 59 4
Tickets for entertainment 54 48 6
Electronics 52 41 11
Toys/games 46 50 -4
Office supplies/stationery 44B 31 13
Home décor 42 34 8
Home furnishings 36 26 10
Photo/supplies 35 21 14
Cosmetics 34 35 -1
Jewelry/watches 31 22 9
Perfume/fragrance 23 19 4
Prescriptions 23 13 10
Pet supplies 21 18 3
OTC medications 19 N/A N/A
Greeting cards 18 9 9
Groceries 12 8 4
Baby care personal products 8 N/A N/A
Pet food 8 N/A N/A
Note: For 2005, n=945; for 2003, n = 830.
Source: WSL Marketing Inc., 2005

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Enid Burns

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