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Consumers slowly warm to buying consumables online




Buying an ebook, concert ticket or software upgrade online is not only a no-brainer, it’s almost a given. You don’t drive to Barnes and Noble to buy an ebook and the last Ticketmaster booth in my area shut down along with the Tower Record store. (Which is sad because records are making a comeback.)

Buying an actual book, DVD or can of soup. . . that’s a different matter. With physical items, consumers have a choice and slowly but surely more and more of them are choosing online over off.

Nielsen’s new “Global Survey of E-commerce” report states that online purchase intent rates have more than doubled for half of the 22 consumer product categories.

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At the top of the chart we have the ecommerce gimmees. After that it gets interesting. When it comes to online purchase intentions, airline tickets are at the top with 48%. Clothing, Accessories and Shoes come in at 46%. Not a lot of growth but that category was already in the number one spot.

The big growth areas are Sporting Goods and Toys. Both popped up 16%. Videos, DVD and Music all rose 13%. The big story is the 12% rise in Baby and Pet Products. These are products most people prefer to buy at the store but what a shift. . . and it’s about time. Buying diapers in bulk and having them delivered on an automatic schedule via Amazon is the way to go. And why lug home those huge bags of dog food when you can have them delivered to your door? Honestly, I don’t know why these two areas are lagging.

Nielsen also found that in a few categories consumers do more online browsing than buying. This is true of Electronics, Mobile Phones and Computer Hardware. The only category that has more buying than browsing is airline tickets.

Here’s a crazy fact: more Latin American’s browse while more Asia-Pacific consumers buy.

In Europe, UK and France are leading the way with online grocery sales.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Millennials are responsible for more than half of the people who said they intended to shop online. Gen Xers made up 28% of the group and the other ages followed in decreasing order.

Finally, let’s talk devices. Globally, it’s almost an even split between desktop and mobile; 80% vs 75%. In Asia and the Middle East mobile tops the desktop.

What did we learn from all of this? We learned that ecommerce is still growing and mostly growing at a rapid pace. That means there’s still room for more online sellers and plenty of room for innovation. The next big thing is going to be the retailer who figures out how to get the majority of Americans buying their groceries online. I’m not sure I’ll ever see that day, but it’ll happen.