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Number of Digital Shoppers in the US 2020: Demographic, Statistics, and Predictions

Category: B2B News
How many digital shoppers were there in 2019?
In 2019, there were 224.1 million digital shoppers who had compared prices, browsed products, and bought an item online in the US. This number continues to grow alongside online shopping penetration. If the growth rate remains constant, the forecast estimates that the numbers of digital shoppers could be more than 230.5 million by 2021.

Source: eMarketer; Statista

According to the survey conducted by the US Census, the average American spent less time shopping than they did 15 years ago. The census bureau started conducting surveys on American Time Use back in 2003 and in 2018. They found the average time spent shopping on consumer goods went down from 12 to 10 hours. This is most likely caused by the imminent rise of online shopping. This article will go through the number of digital shoppers in the US in 2021 and will tackle the topics below:

What is the Number of Digital Shoppers in 2021?

Online shopping penetration is predicted to rise over the years: from Statista’s forecast of 84.7% in 2020, it will climb up to 87% in 2021[1] Indeed, the global online shopping market size is expected to exceed $4 trillion this 2020.

Source: eMarketer; Statista market projection

Digital Shoppers by Demographics

Which Gender Spends Most of Their Time Shopping Online?

The long-running stereotype of women shopping more than men, propagated by glossy magazines and television tropes, is being reshaped by online shopping.

In 2019, there was barely any difference in shopping habits between men and women. According to a survey by Statista, 17% of men shop at least once a week versus 23% for women. A 5% difference isn’t that notable, and as the frequency of shopping increases, the gap decreases. When asked how often they shopped online, 41% of men and 39% of women said they do several times a month.[2] Looking at it further, around 40% of males aged 18 to 34 years want to buy everything online compared to around 33% of females of the same age.

Source: Statista

However, when it comes to how much they spend during their online shopping, 36% of men have at least once purchased an item worth over $1000 compared to only 18% of women, according to NPR/Marist Poll.[3] This behavior can be attributed to the shopping habits between men and women, with women being smart shoppers by purchasing discounted items compared to men who almost always buy an item at full price.

What Age Bracket Spends Most of Their Time Shopping Online?

Millennials in the US are part of the largest age group comprising at least 40% of the labor force in the country. Apart from being the largest age group, Millennials also account for the most number of Internet users. Almost 100% say that they use the Internet daily, according to the study by Pew Research.[4]

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US online shopping frequency by age group

US online shopping frequency by age group
Millennials: 67%

Millennials

67%
US online shopping frequency by age group
Generation X: 56%

Generation X

56%
US online shopping frequency by age group
Baby Boomers: 41%

Baby Boomers

41%
US online shopping frequency by age group
Seniors: 28%

Seniors

28%

Source: BigCommerce; Statista

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Which is why it comes as no surprise when it comes to shopping preference, Millennials lead the pack with 67% of them saying that they prefer shopping online, followed by 56% of Generation X, Baby Boomers at 41%, and Seniors at 28%.[5]

In addition to that, Bizrate Insights conducted a study and found out the online shopping and buying-related activities by American Internet users. The study is categorized by age brackets to give more context to the behaviors of American digital shoppers online. All of the respondents’ top answer is that they purchased a product on Amazon, either on the website or the mobile app, garnering a total average of 54.4% among the respondents. Notably, the older portion of millennials, ages between 30 & 39, are the top shoppers of Amazon.[6]

Researching a product digitally before purchasing in-store is the second topmost priority for digital shoppers with a total average of 46.1% across all age brackets. Millennials rose at the top as the most conscious shoppers with 55.8% of ages between 18 & 29 and 54% for ages between 30 & 39 listings this as one of their answers.[6]

The third most common behavior among digital shoppers is they shop in other online marketplaces such as Amazon independent sellers, Etsy, and eBay among others. 50% of Gen Zers and young millennials or ages between 18 & 29 answered this and the lowest are Boomers with only 41% of the listing this as one of their answers.[6]

Common Behaviors among Digital Shoppers, by Age

18-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+ Total
Purchased a product on Amazon.com or Amazon app using Amazon Prime 59.6% 65% 57.4% 51.1% 48.1% 54.4%
Researched a product digitally before purchasing in-store 55.8% 54% 51.1% 42.4% 39.2% 46.1%
Purchased via an online marketplace (e.g., Amazon independent sellers, Etsy, Wish) 50% 46.5% 41.6% 45.9% 41% 44%
Purchased via a smartphone 60.6% 58% 40.5% 27.9% 19% 35.5%
Purchased a product through a retailer’s rewards program (e.g. Amazon Prime, Sephora, Ulta) 47.1% 39% 35.3% 24.5% 25.2% 31.3%
Purchased digitally and picked up in-store 26.9% 36.5% 30% 27.9% 23.6% 28.2%
Looked at a product in-store before purchasing it digitally 36.5% 31% 28.4% 23.1% 17.4% 24.7%
Purchased a travel product/service (e.g. airline tickets, hotel, rental car) 26.9% 25.5% 20% 20.1% 18.4% 21.1%
Heard about a product via social media, then purchased it 31.7% 28% 21.6% 19.7% 11.4% 19.8%
Used a shared economy service (e.g. Airbnb, Lyft, Uber) 37.5% 21.5% 12.1% 7% 6.2% 13.1%
Purchased from a website based outside of the US 12.5% 15% 10% 13.5% 9.4% 11.6%
Received a subscription box (e.g. Blue Apron, Birchbox, ipsy, Stitch Fix) 12.5% 15% 11.6% 7.9% 3.6% 8.8%
Bought using voice-enabled speaker (e.g. via Alexa, Amazon Echo, Google Home) 1% 4.5% 4.2% 3.5% 2.9% 3.3%
None of these 3.8% 4% 4.7% 5.7% 10.9% 6.9%
Source: eMarketer; Bizrate Insights

Digital Shopping Behaviors in the US

Predicting shopping behaviors is a must for retail establishments to maximize profits. According to a survey conducted by Workarea among 25 of their online merchants, shoppers tend to be more active at the beginning of the week, between Sunday or Monday. The online shops surveyed received 14.81% more traffic on Sunday and 15.33% more on Monday.[7]

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Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week

Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Monday: 15.33%

Monday

15.33%
Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Sunday: 14.81%

Sunday

14.81%
Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Tuesday: 14.59%

Tuesday

14.59%
Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Wednesday: 14.23%

Wednesday

14.23%
Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Thursday: 14.06%

Thursday

14.06%
Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Friday: 13.31%

Friday

13.31%
Average Daily Session of Online Shoppers Per Week
Saturday: 13.67%

Saturday

13.67%

Source: workarea.com

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On the other hand, as the traffic takes a dip by the weekend, conversion rates become much higher. This can be associated with the shopper’s mindset that by the weekend, people tend to shop for the things that they’ll be needed by next week. It follows that although conversion rates are higher on Fridays, the total revenue was still low due to smaller shopping sessions.

Cart abandonment is also an issue for online retailers. In 2018 alone, the abandonment rate is at 56.82% according to Fresh Relevance. Meanwhile, SaleCycle reported a gargantuan 75.60% cart abandonment rate the same year. But why do online shoppers abandon their carts?[8]

In a study conducted by Baymard.com, the most common reason is that the extra costs, like shipping, tax, and other fees are too high (53%). They also abandon their cart if the site wanted them to create an account (31%) and if the checkout process is too long or complicated (23%).[8]

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Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US

Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
Extra costs too high (shipping, tax, fees): 53%

Extra costs too high (shipping, tax, fees)

53%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
The site wanted me to create an account: 31%

The site wanted me to create an account

31%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
Too long / complicated checkout process: 23%

Too long / complicated checkout process

23%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
I couldn't see / calculate total order cost up-front: 20%

I couldn't see / calculate total order cost up-front

20%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
I didn't trust the site with my credit card information: 17%

I didn't trust the site with my credit card information

17%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
Delivery was too slow: 16%

Delivery was too slow

16%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
Website had errors / crashed: 15%

Website had errors / crashed

15%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
Returns policy wasn't satisfactory: 10%

Returns policy wasn't satisfactory

10%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
There weren't enough payment methods: 6%

There weren't enough payment methods

6%
Top Reasons for Abandonment in the US
The credit card was declined: 4%

The credit card was declined

4%

Source: Baymard Institute

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Top eCommerce Site in the US

The US eCommerce is one of the most developed in the world. Most of the global brands in the US also dominate other countries’ eCommerce markets. According to Disfold, Amazon holds the top spot as the most visited site in the US with estimated monthly traffic of 2.467 billion. This comes as no surprise considering that 92% of American online shoppers admitted that they have bought at least once in the said site based on NPR/Marist Poll’s survey. The second spot belongs to eBay, one of the pioneers of eCommerce in the US, with 1.115 billion monthly visits. Walmart is third with 321 million visits. A significant drop in monthly site visits compared to the top two.[9]

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Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)

Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
amazon.com: 2.476 billion

amazon.com

2.476 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
ebay.com: 1.115 billion

ebay.com

1.115 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
walmart.com: 0.321 billion

walmart.com

0.321 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
etsy.com: 0.198 billion

etsy.com

0.198 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
homedepot.com: 0.142 billion

homedepot.com

0.142 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
target.com: 0.114 billion

target.com

0.114 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
bestbuy.com: 0.109 billion

bestbuy.com

0.109 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
lowes.com: 0.086 billion

lowes.com

0.086 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
wish.com: 0.084 billion

wish.com

0.084 billion
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Monthly Visits (in Billions)
macys.com: 0.059 billion

macys.com

0.059 billion

Source: disfold.com

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Also, ecommerceDB.com reported the net sales of the top e-retailers in the US last 2018. Once again, Amazon holds the top spot with a net income of 62.8 million dollars. Walmart clinched the second spot with $14.6 million; followed by Apple with $9.9 million. Surprisingly, among the top 10 websites listed by Disfold with the highest monthly visitors, only Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, and Macy’s have turned in the profits.[10]

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Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)

Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
amazon.com: $62,850.1 million

amazon.com

$62,850.1 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
walmart.com: $14,667.5 million

walmart.com

$14,667.5 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
apple.com: $9,943.7 million

apple.com

$9,943.7 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
homedepot.com: $7,858.5 million

homedepot.com

$7,858.5 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
bestbuy.com: $6,524.5 million

bestbuy.com

$6,524.5 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
target.com: $5,233.5 million

target.com

$5,233.5 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
macys.com: $5,175.5 million

macys.com

$5,175.5 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
wayfair.com: $4,765.5 million

wayfair.com

$4,765.5 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
costco.com: $4,025.1 million

costco.com

$4,025.1 million
Most Popular Online Stores in the US by Net Sales (in Million US Dollars)
kohls.com: $4,025.1 million

kohls.com

$4,025.1 million

Source: ecommerceDB.com

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Nielsen reported that the eCommerce in the US is already valued at over $435 billion[11]. Although Amazon is projected to hold the biggest share of the total eCommerce retail shares last 2019, its market share is predicted to decrease to 38% from 2018’s 47%.[11]

Meanwhile, there is a SaaS vertical that caters specifically to the ecommerce market by offering a variety of related services in a software package: ecommerce software.

Most Popular eCommerce Software

  1. Wix – Primarily a website builder, Wix also offers an integrated ecommerce module that combined with its freemium model makes it a clear favorite among users looking for ecommerce software.
  2. NetSuite SuiteCommerce – Backed by one of the largest players in any SaaS vertical, NetSuite SuiteCommerce packs a lot of power under the hood that goes beyond simple ecommerce and allows users to offer their customers a single brand experience across sales and marketing.
  3. ShipBob – With “dropshipping” becoming increasingly widespread, major players like ShipBob who offer ecommerce fulfillment are leaving their mark in the multifaceted ecommerce market.
  4. Payability – Online payment goes hand in hand with ecommerce, and with its accelerated cashflow solutions, Payability is definitely a top ecommerce payment transaction software.
  5. X-Cart – Hosted shopping cart and cloud-based ecommerce platform in one, X-Cart offers both a lot of functionality and a direct line to the source code for those users who want to maximize customizability.

Popular Payment Methods in the US

Source: Ipsos; ING

According to a survey conducted by Ipsos and ING, credit cards (stored) are still the most popular payment method[12] among American shoppers with 45% of them saying they use it for every online transaction. PayPal came in second place with 22% and runners-up include credit cards (manual) with 17%, Amazon Pay with 5% and COD (cash-on-delivery) with 4%. In a study commissioned by JP Morgan Chase, Americans prefer paying with their credit card because most merchants do not allow payment through digital wallets (64%). Meanwhile, only 16% of the respondents say that they have used digital wallets to pay for their online transactions.

eCommerce Trends to Look Forward to in the 2020s

The eCommerce as an industry in the US continues to grow. To keep this trajectory, e-retailers must keep up and watch for incoming trends to retain customer loyalty. FinancesOnline recently looked up potential future trends that may play a crucial role in the eCommerce industry this 2020s.

AI assistants and chatbots will be a big part of the eCommerce industry. The difference between online shops and brick-and-mortar stores is that physical shops have sales personnel that can quickly attend to your needs. However, in an online store, customer support is lacking. This can be addressed by having your very own AI that can answer, assist, and personalize the shopping needs of your customers. In a recent 2017 Statista study, 34% of online shoppers said that they would be comfortable to have an AI answer their queries.

AI can also help in personalizing the shopping experience of your customers by keeping tabs on their shopping history. SmartInsights revealed that 48% of online shoppers tend to spend more if their shopping is tailored based on their personal preferences. Fifty-seven percent of online shoppers are also more comfortable handing over their data to a brand if it will benefit their shopping experience.

Social commerce will also not be going away anytime soon. With the Facebook Marketplace continue gaining ground and the new Instagram Shop, brands are expected to take advantage of the huge market presence in these social media sites. In fact, among the social media activities that impact online shopping include reading user comments, viewing ads, and ascertaining brand reputation on social networks.

Showing no signs of slowing down, eCommerce in the US will continue to grow and the trends will arise along with it.


Notes:

  1. ^Number of digital shoppers in the United States from 2016 to 2021
  2. ^Online shopping frequency of online shoppers in the United States as of April 2017, by gender
  3. ^ NPR/Marist Poll
  4. ^Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life
  5. ^Online shopping preference in the United States as of 2017, by age group
  6. ^Online shopping and buying-related activities performed by internet users in the United States as of March 2018, by age
  7. ^Trends: When Do People Shop Online?
  8. ^41 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics
  9. ^Top 10 e-commerce sites in the US 2019
  10. ^Most popular online stores in the United States in 2018, by e-commerce net sales
  11. ^TOTAL CONSUMER REPORT 2019
  12. ^Leading Payment Methods Used in 2018
Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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