51% of purchases by avid internet shoppers now made online

More than half of all purchases made by avid internet shoppers are now done online, according to a new study by UPS and Comscore.

Avid online shoppers – those who make two or more purchases online in a three-month period – are demanding a more seamless mobile experience between digital and physical stores, according to the fifth annual UPS study "Pulse of the Online Shopper."

Passing the halfway mark for the first time to reach 51 percent, respondents in the 2015 study said that 48 percent of all of their purchases were made online.

"Consumers are skilled at using technology to their advantage and thrive on gathering information when shopping," said Teresa Finley, chief marketing officer at UPS. "This year's UPS study revealed that 45 percent of online shoppers love the thrill of hunting for and finding great deals, and that physical stores continue to play an important role in that experience. The challenge is how to best engage with shoppers to fulfill their desires."

As the shift from in-store shopping to omnichannel continues to evolve, 17 percent of consumers plan to shop less in-store and more on an electronic device. In addition, the use of smartphones has gone up 10 points in two years to 77 percent. Consumers are also feeling more satisfied with their mobile experience; satisfaction is up eight points from last year to 73 percent.

Social media's influence on purchasing decisions has also gone up nine points to 34 percent, and about 23 percent of respondents have made purchases through social media sites.

According to the study, online sales are now driving significant in-store traffic as half of shoppers who buy online have the item shipped to a physical store. Of these ship-to-store purchasers, 46 percent make an additional purchase when picking up their items. In-store is still the point of preference to return items for 60 percent, and 70 percent of shoppers make an additional purchase at this time.

"Cost, control and convenience are shoppers' primary drivers," Finley said. "Shoppers may be buying more online, but they still value the physical store. Providing an exceptional in-store experience can position the retailer to convert more sales and enhance loyalty when customers pick up and return items."

Finally, mobile phones are integral to the in-store process: 29 percent of shoppers use them to look up product reviews; 28 percent read product details; 27 percent compare prices; and 27 percent access coupons for redemption.

For more:
- see this comScore press release

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