An explanation of the top reasons shoppers buy online. This article is from "Preparing your Business for Global ecommerce", a guide provided by the U.S. Commercial Service for online retailers to manage operations, inventory, and payment issues.
Last Published: 5/22/2017
According to Morgan Stanley research, these are the top reasons why online shoppers choose to buy online:
  • It’s cheaper.
    • U.S.: 41 percent
    • Globally: 49 percent
  • I save time.
    • U.S.: 30 percent
    • Globally: 34 percent
  • I can shop from anywhere, any time.
    • U.S.: 32 percent
    • Globally: 34 percent
  • It’s easier to compare prices.
    • U.S.: 25 percent
    • Globally: 32 percent
  • More choices of products.
    • U.S.: 27 percent
    • Globally: 27 percent
  • Convenient to have products delivered.
    • U.S.: 31 percent
    • Globally: 27 percent
  • The products are not available in stores.
    • U.S.: 32 percent
    • Globally: 21 percent
  • I get free shipping.
    • U.S.: 29 percent
    • Globally: 18 percent
  • More payment flexibility/ installment terms
    • U.S.: 3 percent
    • Globally: 5 percent
  • There is more product information.
    • U.S.: 8 percent
    • Globally: 13 percent
  • I can read customer reviews.
    • U.S.: 19 percent
    • Globally: 17 percent 
  • I can find higher quality products.
    • ​U.S.: 2 percent
    • Globally: 4 percent
  • Other reasons
    • U.S.: 4 percent
    • Globally: 2 percent
Source: Morgan Stanley Research

Survey results are often influenced by the way they’re asked.  In a 2014 survey conducted by DHL, consumers worldwide were asked how products not available domestically ranked in their desire to purchase them via cross border e-commerce.  Results comparing regions of the world could be useful in planning web and selling strategies.  Here are the consumers' answers, aggregated by region:

Products Not Available Domestically
  • Emerging economies                    74%
  • Europe                                         74%
  • Americas and Asia Pacific  72%
 
Lower Prices
  • Emerging economies                    57%
  • Europe                                         69%
  • Americas and Asia Pacific  62%
 
Greater Selection
  • Emerging economies                    49%
  • Europe                                         35%
  • Americas and Asia Pacific  41%
 
Higher quality
  • Emerging economies                    49%
  • Europe                                         8%
  • Americas and Asia Pacific  15%
 
Assurance against Counterfeiting
  • Emerging economies                    24%
  • Europe                                         4%
  • Americas and Asia Pacific  6%
Source: DHL
 
Other drivers are demographic.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the number of people in the world defined as middle class will grow to 4.9 Billion in the next 15 years.  There were 1.9 billion in 2009, leaving us with more elbow room but less purchasing power.  The Asia Pacific region will be home to 2.7 billion of these new middle class folks, while North America’s share drops to 10 percent from 26 percent in 2009, according to the Brookings Institution.

Many of these new entrants will purchase cross border.  The ones doing so now are more numerous than you might think.  According to a study sponsored by PayPal, 56 percent of online buyers made at least one cross border purchase in 2013.  The average annual spend is about $300, with Australians and Danes serving as world-class spenders at between USD $1,000 and USD $3000 respectively.
 




eCommerce Industry eCommerce