42% of purchases happen in first hour online

Impulse purchases could soon be a thing of the past thanks to the internet, as shoppers are more likely to consider a purchase over a short period of time than spontaneously click to buy.

Just 42 percent of purchases happen during the first hour of online shopping sessions, according to a new report from personalization platform Monetate.

Monetate analyzed data from the first quarter of 2016 and found that shoppers browse heavily during the workday – in fact, the biggest workplace distraction could well be shopping.

Desktops dominate during the day. Between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., desktop's share of page views never fell below 75 percent and peaked at 84 percent around 2 p.m. Outside of typical work hours, mobile devices account for 40 to 45 percent of page views during commuting hours, early mornings and late nights.

Smartphones beat out tablets for viewing and desktop beats out mobile. The device of choice is important, according to Monetate, because the first device used is most likely to be the device used to complete the purchase.

When browsing starts on a desktop, 99 percent of those purchases occur on the desktop. When it begins on a mobile device 64 percent finish there, and 84 percent of tablet browsers buy on the tablet.

Desktop users accounted for more page views and higher average orders, leading Monetate to suggest that merchants are better off pushing mobile browsers to desktop while trying to keep desktop browsers where they are.

What about those impulse buys? Monetate tracked purchase behavior over the course of 48 hours and found that after one hour (when 42 percent of purchases are complete), just 9 percent of shoppers finalized their purchase in the six hours after the first 60 minutes concluded. Sixteen percent bought roughly a day later and 5 percent of purchases occurred nearly two days after the first site visit.

Still, returning customers could be more profitable. An earlier report from Monetate found that returning visitors spent nearly $5.3 billion online, compared to $2.7 billion by new customers.

For more:
- see this Monetate report