Two items of good news for eCommerce in the last few days:
Friday, Accenture reported that most product research (69%) and comparison shopping (68%) happens online. Actual purchases, however, happen offline (67%). 13% said the Internet played no role in their offline shopping. The study backs up last year’s comScore stat that stated that 63% of search-related purchases happen offline.
The Kelsey Group adds that for purchases over $500, more than 90% happen offline.
Search Engine Watch says that this offers an opportunity for local product search to step up.
There wasn’t any indication of shoppers’ reasons for buying in person. These could range from “I wanted it now” to “I didn’t want to pay shipping costs” to “I wanted to try it on/out first.”
Today, Reuters reports that “online retail is years away from saturation.” They relied on Forrester Research’s . . . research which stated that eCommerce should experience double digit growth for years to come.
Last year, the online retail industry boomed 25% over 2005 (to $220 billion). For the first time, clothing was the most popular industry in online sales, passing the perennial favorite, computer hardware & software. (This is excluding travel, of course.)
According to the US Census Bureau, eCommerce last year accounted for 2.5% of all US spending, while Reuters said that it was 7%. Either way, it’s not a very difficult position to grow from. Or, to put it another way, no place to go but up.
Looks like the moral of the story is that it’s never too late to break into eCommerce. The Reuters piece says that only 1% of food and beverage purchases take place onlineâ€”maybe start there . However, if you’re thinking of running and online-only eCommerce business, consider the reasons why two-thirds convert offline, and look for innovative ways to combat those excuses.