The Lifestyles of the Online Shoppers

Internet shoppers view convenience and time management as key elements in their active lifestyles, and are usually wealthy, well-educated, and male, according to a study by Scarborough Research.

The Scarborough study focused on three segments of Internet market shoppers: E-shoppers (adults age 18 and over who shop on the Internet), the “wired but wary” (Internet users who are not yet shopping online), and the unwired (those who have no Internet access at all).

Nearly 60 percent of e-shoppers are male, 70 percent attended college, and 65 percent have white-collar jobs. More than a third (36 percent) have a household income of $75,000 or more. Three-quarters of Internet users are not yet shopping online. This group has similar habits and lifestyles to e-shoppers, but their Internet usage patterns aren’t as diverse, Scarborough found.

“E-shoppers clearly evidence a rich, active, and diverse lifestyle,” said Bob Cohen, president of Scarborough Research. “Given their predisposition and time constraints, it is not surprising that the choice and convenience provided by e-commerce offers attractive benefits for this segment. Moreover, their distinct lifestyle orientation would suggest further opportunities for even greater involvement in e-commerce.”

Scarborough found that e-shoppers’ active lifestyle includes traveling and a plethora of other leisure activities. More than half have taken a trip abroad in the past year, and 37 percent belong to frequent flyer programs. Forty-five percent have attended a professional sporting event in the past year, and 24 percent have health club memberships. Other lifestyle activities include photography (34 percent), swimming (52 percent), biking (40 percent), and camping (24 percent).

The “Wired but Wary” group that has Internet access but has not shopped online represents 75 percent of the online community. Just like their e-shopper counterparts, the wired but wary live similar active lives. Scarborough found their demographic and lifestyle patterns are directionally the same but not as pronounced as the e-shopper. The wired but wary group are not diversified Internet users, and use it primarily for email.

“The wired but wary segment may need some additional enticements to shop online,” Cohen said. “Despite the fact that they are engaged in some online activities, the benefits of online shopping are obviously not self-evident to this group. E-commerce providers will have to engage in further incentives to appeal to them.”

More than half (54 percent) of the total adult population measured by Scarborough are without Internet access (the Unwired). They lead a less active lifestyle, are 55 percent female, and almost half are over age 50. The unwired lead a slower lifestyle. Only 40 percent use ATMs, less than 10 percent has health club memberships, and only 28 percent have attended a professional sporting event in the past year.

The Scarborough data is based on interviews with more than 85,000 randomly selected interviews conducted among US adults in 64 markets.


Internet User Profiles
Demographic Percent
E-Shoppers Wired but Wary Unwired
Men 57 50 45
Women 43 50 55
Ages 18-34 40 37 27
Ages 35-49 41 37 26
Age 50+ 18 26 46
High School or Less 30 35 59
Some College
(1-3 years)
34 35 27
College Graduate or More
(4+ years)
35 30 15
White Collar 65 61 33
Blue Collar 19 21 24
Household Income
<$50,000
41 49 72
Household Income
$50,000-$74,999
22 22 14
Household Income
$75,000+
36 29 14
Lifestyle Activities
Bicycling 40 37 23
Camping 24 22 17
Swimming 52 46 31
Hiking/Backpacking 20 17 8
Photography 34 26 18
Seen 3+ Movies in Past Month 36 31 20
Attended Pro Sporting Event 45 41 28
Belong to Health/Exercise Club 24 20 9
Used ATM Card 75 65 41
Made Foreign Trip
in Last Three Years
54 49 34
Belong to Frequent Flyer Program 37 28 11
Household Owns Cell Phone 64 59 36
10+ Times Fast Food
in Past Month
31 24 20
Bought from TV Shopping Show 19 12 11
Bought from Direct Mail 75 61 56
Ways in Which Internet is Used
Automobile Information 39 19
E-mail 94 80
Financial Services/Information 47 25
Games 43 31
Medical Services/Information 30 16
News 67 37
Real Estate Listings 21 10
Research/Education 67 42
Source: Scarborough Research

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