Shopping All Over (the House)

May 02, 2012

Ninety-five percent of e-commerce purchases are still taking place in the home, according to a new global survey commissioned by WorldPay. But those purchases are being made all over the house, with three percent of respondents admitting to having made online purchases in the bathroom and two percent in the garage/shed.

The most common place to conduct at-home online shopping was the living room, mentioned by 54 percent, followed by the bedroom (43 percent), the study (35 percent), the dining room (14 percent), and the kitchen (10 percent).

The report also pointed to the challenges of keeping those at-home shoppers engaged. Of those surveyed, 46 percent indicated they watch TV while they shop online, with 42 percent listening to music, 21 percent the radio, 29 percent chatting to family or friends, and 31 percent using social networking sites during the purchasing process.

Still, the report found instances of shopping with mobile devices rising, particularly among ‘heavy spenders’ — those who have spent 30 percent of their disposable income online in the past year. (The average was 23 percent.)

Globally, 55 percent of heavy spenders have used a smartphone and 67 percent a tablet in the last three months to buy online. Among overall U.S. respondents, 15 percent have used a smartphone and 9 percent a tablet to make a purchase with 27 percent planning on using use a smartphone or tablet to shop in the next 12 months

Other findings:

  • U.S. respondents made three percent of their online purchases via mobile against a global average of 2.5 percent.
  • In the U.S., of those consumers that buy using a mobile device, 53 percent have purchased clothes, 46 percent books and 42 percent DVDs/video games in the last three months.
  • U.S. respondents are shopping an online an average of 5.4 hours per month.

Some 19,000 consumers and 153 senior decision makers took part in the research, which investigates the shopping habits of people in 15 countries, including the U.K., U.S., China, Germany, Spain and India.

Discussion Questions: How should retailers be further adjusting for the “wherever and whenever” online buyer? Do the findings, in any way, make you question projections made about the growth of mobile commerce?

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13 Comments on "Shopping All Over (the House)"

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Paula Rosenblum

The findings don’t make me question the projections about growth in mobile commerce. I would just really like to see tablet commerce separated from smart phone commerce.

There’s no question that consumers are buying more on tablets — there’s enough screen real estate to get a good look at what they’re buying. I suspect shoppers use mobile phones for purchasing mostly when they realize they forgot to buy something until they were waiting in a doctor’s office or somewhere like that. And no, I don’t think there’s all that much showrooming going on.

I think in general, retailers are dancing as fast as they can to keep up with the consumer. You start with presence, and then move on to analytics, to understand seemingly chaotic paths to purchase. Clearly the tablet app should be different than the smartphone app, but I think most retailers know that already.

Mike Osorio
Mike Osorio
5 years 6 months ago

I was surprised to read only 5% of online shopping is happening outside of the home. As more online time migrates to smart phones and tablets, I would expect the amount of shopping while at work or other places outside the home to increase significantly.

Retailers must keep the shopping experience online ever more simple, using the “no more than 3 clicks to purchase” rule, to ensure the shopper can purchase easily even if on the run.

Roger Saunders

No one medium provides the crown of sole medium to influence a purchase of products or services. And, no medium has the mantle to be able to deny that the consumer is using multiple Media channels simultaneously.

The BIGinsight Media Influence & Behaviors Study, along with Northwestern University’s Integrated Marketing Department have been documenting this simultaneous media usage behavior since 2002. And, the television networks finally came to this enlightenment in 2011.

Whether consumers multi-task effectively or not, can be debated. They do, however, multi-task with media — watch TV – read mail, listen to radio – talk on mobile, read a magazine – surf the internet, etc.

Proper media allocation, placed against the target audience, with effective messaging will address the “wherever and whenever” conundrum.

Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens
5 years 6 months ago

It’s a matter of not thinking about channels and starting to think more about the consumer’s logical path to purchase for your product. When are they most likely in the day to need what you sell? Once you map this, your brand needs to be available at those moments in which ever medium makes the most sense. This will vary by brand and product. It may be on their iPad on the couch with an app that’s integrated with their TV. It may be on their mobile on the subway home from work. It’s not the channel that matters any more. It’s being available at the right moment.

Dick Seesel

It’s pretty simple: If you are not in the mobile app business (or at least adapting your e-commerce site to mobile devices), you need to be. The days of consumers sitting at a desktop PC to do their online browsing and shopping are long gone, and the laptop business isn’t much better. (In fact, the newest release of Windows, coming this fall, is meant to give laptops the look and feel of tablets and smartphones.) These survey results shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention for the last few years.

Ken Lonyai

Mobile is here and it is the future, but remember, M/e-commerce is still a newborn industry with a lot of growing to do. In 1995 many businesses shunned the web and people called it “a fad” — literally. Nowadays, being a technogeek is cool, so M/e-commerce adoption rates are far better than the early days of the Internet, but it’s still a new phenomenon. I’m repeatedly reminding people that reports on all related digital topics are a snapshot in time, that change rapidly — more-so than ever. In 6 months, these figures will be meaningless. So to answer the first question: within the home, there’s little to do about what room someone is in when they engage a shopping opportunity online. Regarding distractions like TV: uh hello… don’t people often shop in-store with loads of distractions like screaming kids, mobile calls, texting, etc.? There’s little if anything that can be done to hold a person’s complete focus and keep them planted in the living room.

Adrian Weidmann

The findings certainly support the reality that connecting with shoppers through their mobile devices is not only here to stay, but will continue to grow. We carry around plastic cards in our wallet and think nothing of it. Those plastic cards will become our mobile devices as a natural progression. The evolution of this transaction will first begin with the same process as the mobile QR code boarding pass that a number of the airlines are using today. Starbucks also uses a mobile transaction ‘application’.

We live in a nanosecond world and expect change to be near instantaneous. Once the technological infrastructure ecosystem catches up with the ‘Orwellian’ vision of mobile commerce will become second nature. The key for brands is to embrace this reality and begin to map a holistic cross-channel strategy — today!

David Zahn

The study raises some interesting points — but one that is indirect that strikes me is the importance of getting to the shopper or consumer IN THE HOME (regardless of which room). The mobile aspect of sending information to a cell phone seems LESS probable to impact a purchase if the decision is being made IN the home. I think the trend is interesting … want to see how this continues to evolve and shake out.

gordon arnold

Unlike most of the observers, I continue to urge businesses to work on developing site application software. Having spent most of my career in the IT industry, I can say first hand that setting sites and banking on the success of a current device or platform will get you broke quick. There are still a staggering number of transactions lost due to clumsy sites. There is no telling how much business is lost due to poor or no communications capability.

Millions or should I say billions of people in Europe, Asia, and South America have phones and money to buy products from the USA, but do not speak or read English well enough to do so. Imagine a fast food service in China speaking only English, taking only dollars and supplying information as in menus in English only. Sounds like a formula for failure, doesn’t it? The internet is world wide. If one prepares for any guest the guests will find a way to get there as in device type.

Doug Fleener

While every retailer wants to capture the wherever and whenever online buyer, I think they still need to make a compelling reason to visit the store. To Doug’s point about not thinking channels and the logical path, the key differentiator for most retailers is the in-store experience. Take that away and your products are quickly commoditized and can likely be purchased in a number of other online stores.

Jason Goldberg
I’m always a bit skeptical about drawing conclusions from studies that ask consumers to self-report their behaviors. As has been proved over and over again, even when we are trying to be honest, we aren’t very good at saying “what” we do, and we’re horrible at explaining “why” we did it, or predicting what we “will” do in the future. (see Predictable Irrationality, etc…). In the case of the recent WorldPay study, it’s pretty clear the self-reported behaviors are grossly inaccurate. For example, 95% of all purchases are made from the home? That will come as a surprise to the second largest e-commerce site in the world (Staples) that probably thinks a lot of its business comes from the office. Further, the WorldPlay data finds that in the US, 15% buy via their smartphones and 9% buy via Tablets, but of course when we look at web analytics data we almost always see more volume coming from tablets than smartphones (and don’t forget the penetration of smartphones is far higher than tablets). So while I don’t put much stock in this data-set, it really is an interesting question. I’d love to see data on where/when consumer purchases are made, segmented… Read more »
Ralph Jacobson

Mobile commerce is growing … in the home! More mobile devices are being used while still in the house. Although a small fraction of eCommerce is truly mobile, that number is growing quickly, especially with the availability of newer shopping apps.

Winning over the empowered consumer requires trust. Both the retailer and the CPG must gain trust in their brands. 70% of shoppers do not trust the marketing messages today. A recent survey of more than 28,000 consumers from around the world confirms that while consumers actively discuss, critique, promote, and even dismiss your brand, they will give their loyalty only to a few select retailers. How well retailers and product brands identify the arbiters that determine what’s hot and what’s not and build trust with both individuals and communities of like-minded consumers will determine whether they benefit from a base of loyal advocates or are left with transient and fickle customers.

mCommerce will accelerate in growth in the next 18 months, for sure. Bottom line, the store still rules, however. Many consumers are transitioning to digital shopping, but 83 percent still prefer to purchase in the store.

Kenneth Leung

Making their web site mobile friendly or investing in mobile apps so shopping experience is easier on tablet/mobile platform. Given the advances of wireless technology at home and in public spaces, tablets and mobile phones in some cases are a better browsing client than the PC for products and when integrated with a one-click purchase option, can be very attractive to shoppers.


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