How Americans Shop Today

All industries—apparel, grocery, electronics—are affected differently by the move to e-commerce, and consumers are turning to new options, including social marketplaces, disrupting what we typically think of as digital shopping. Here are some insights on major market changes, including the key to Amazon’s dominance, the industries flouting the turn to e-commerce, and a curious preference among millennials, from a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by Signs.com.

Amazon dominates: It’s the convenience, stupid. Amazon was the number-one option for digital purchases across all generations the report considered: Boomers, Gen-Xers, millennials. The number-one reason respondents subscribed to Prime, dominating all other factors, was free two-day shipping (67%). Next were the “convenience of variety of products available” (18%) and Amazon’s other services, including Prime Video (13%). Retailers unable to offer shipping policies like Amazon’s will never chip away at the company’s dominance.

Daily necessities resist digital. So do items you’d want to see in person. People want items like groceries, cleaning supplies, and pet food immediately and will stop at the local supermarket on the way home from work to get them. Consumers were between 40% and 78% more likely to make these purchases in person. Also resistant to digital are items consumers want to see or touch in person before buying. That includes auto parts (34% more likely to be purchased in person) and furniture (28%).

Millennials like daily deals and social marketplaces. While it’s easy to think of daily deals sites like Groupon and social commerce as failures or small players relative to the massive success of Amazon and Walmart, almost a fifth of consumers turn to those options. Nineteen percent of respondents said they use daily deals sites, and 18% said they use social media marketplaces to shop online. What’s most important is that younger people, who point to the Internet trends that will dominate for years to come, are especially likely to use these options. Millennials use them twice as often as their Gen-X and Boomer counterparts.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.
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