To help measure online shopping preferences behaviors and barriers for consumers around the world, Pitney Bowes Inc. commissioned ORC International to survey approximately 1,000 adults each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The survey, conducted online in June 2011, revealed that consumers around the world may share some characteristics, but they also differ greatly country by country. Ninety-three percent of consumers polled said they have purchased products online, 49 percent making an online product purchase over the last 30 days. Shoppers in Germany, South Korea and the U.K. responded the highest (98 percent) for making online product purchases followed closely by Japan (96 percent) while in Canada, where online shopping was least prevalent, more than four out of five (82 percent) reported having bought goods online.
Price of products (71 percent), selection of products (42 percent), the ease and speed of online checkout processes (35 percent),and shipping costs/duties/taxes (35 percent) are the most important considerations for purchasing products online. Overall, price of products was the leading factor in all 10 countries. However, other preferences varied by country. For instance, the ease and speed of the online checkout process was more important to consumers in Germany and South Korea (both 59 percent), but much less important in Japan (11 percent).
High shipping costs (67 percent), additional fees at time of delivery such as duties and taxes (47 percent), and the delivery time (39 percent) were the most important considerations for discouraging consumers to complete purchases online. Consumers in the U.S. (83 percent), U.K. (79 percent) and Japan (78 percent) are the most likely to abandon online shopping carts due to high shipping costs.
According to the survey, global consumers are more likely to purchase product categories such as books, videos and music (58 percent), computer hardware and software (41 percent), and consumer electronics (38 percent) online rather than in a brick-and-mortar store. Consumers in China indicated they are more likely to purchase apparel (58 percent) and footware (53 percent) online versus in a store. For almost every product category, consumers in China responded they are more likely to purchase products online with the exception of computer hardware and software (39 percent), and jewelry/watches and accessories (16 percent).
When asked about preferences for receiving information on new products, promotions or other offers from retailers/merchandisers, 59 percent of respondents prefer e-mail, 25 percent prefer catalogs and direct mail, and four percent prefer both text messaging and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter).
Looking at all 10 countries, consumers in Brazil had the highest preference for receiving new product and promotional information via e-mail (72 percent). Consumers in Australia (33 percent) had the highest preference for receiving information via catalogs and direct mail followed closely by Canada (32 percent), Germany (31 percent) and the U.S. (30 percent). Text messaging information had the highest preference with consumers in South Korea (13 percent), Japan (12 percent) and China (nine percent). Consumers in China (11 percent), and Brazil and South Korea (both five percent) responded the highest for receiving information via social media channels.