Brands must evaluate impact of impulsive vs. intentional shopping, Avionos' Scott Webb says

Shopping mall
70% of impulse buys are still made in store. (kirkdeepsky/CC BY 2.0)

Shopping patterns look different if the consumer is intentionally making a purchase versus making an impulse buy. And a majority, 70% of consumers, are still most likely to make an impulse purchase in a physical store. 

When it comes to browsing with no specific shopping agenda, 33% of consumers surveyed by Avionos begin their search on Amazon and 32% begin on Google (with only 17% of consumers starting on a brand's site). 

Intentional shopping looks different and is more likely to start digitally. For example, just 37% of consumers are most likely to make an intentional purchase of a product in a store while 51% are more likely to do so online. 

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When consumers intentionally want to make a digital purchase, 38% begin their search on Amazon and 22% begin with Google, 4% and 10% more than shoppers with no agenda. And only 15% of consumers intentionally shopping begin on a brand's website.

Scott Webb, president of Avionos, said that the results of the data were fairly reflective of consumer trends. However, it was surprising how few consumers start their search on a brand's site, with or without the intent to purchase (15% and 17%). 

"This really demonstrates the visibility that Amazon and Google provide in the discovery process and how brands need to reevaluate their strategy for how they position their products, both on their sites and by partnering with third parties," Webb told FierceRetail. 

Overall, Webb says the results spell out the need for brands to connect the online and offline experience. The results demonstrate that today’s consumer is still looking for brands to connect the in-store and online experience. 

"It makes sense that for more expensive items, people would want to be able to see, touch and test it, but make sure their research is done thoroughly before they get to that point," he said. "Here we can see how important it is to provide various opportunities for consumers to interact with a brand at different points within the purchase journey. We’re seeing large brands like Amazon and Walmart execute this well. Amazon is expanding its brick-and-mortar offerings, while Walmart is expanding its digital commerce offerings, and the data just further validates this trend that consumer expectations are driving."

In the future, Webb predicts that as e-commerce strategies continue to evolve, that a greater percentage of impulse purchases could happen online. 

"The way that consumers shopped five years ago is different than how we shop today. We can’t even imagine how it will change five years from now, especially as new technology like voice-controlled devices and AI take hold even more. The way that these technologies will create more personalized and engaging experiences both online and offline will really change the way that consumers make the decision to purchase both intentionally and impulsively across channels," Webb added.