Internet Increases Consumers
Online shoppers are loosening the grips on their wallets, but continuing to be cautious about where and how they spend their cash. To secure their business, online retailers need to persuade consumers that they’re offering the best product at the best price.
A PriceGrabber.com online consumer survey in the U.S., carried out last October, showed 59% had cut back in spending. However, their most recent survey, carried out in February and March this year, found that figure to have dropped to 50% showing some optimism on the part of consumers.
However, it seems shoppers’ fingers have been burned by the recent recession and while they’re less inclined to cut back expenditure, they’re shopping smarter. To soothe their spending conscience, many have turned to the Internet in an attempt to focus their shopping behavior and avoid impulse purchases. PriceGrabber.com’s survey of over 4,200 online Americans found that 40% now spend more time online comparing products and prices. Some may track product prices and promotions online, watching the rises and falls and bagging a bargain at sales.
But, price comparison is not the only driver of online shopping. Many are seeking out coupons, even for offline purchases. In fact, traffic to coupon sites has seen big rises over the last six months or so, with around 40 million people currently printing online coupons, up 20% on last year, according to Simmons Market Research Bureau.
The Internet is fast becoming the favored place to search for coupons with a rise of 46% in the number of people who never use newspaper coupons. In addition, Hitwise recently reported a significant rise in the use of search terms relating to money-saving techniques. In December, 2008, searches for "coupon" doubled to 19.9 million, while "discount" rose 26% to 6.3 million.
Ultimately, what consumers want is the reassurance that they’re getting the best product at the best possible price. That’s where the Internet delivers, giving 91% of those surveyed confidence in their buying decision.
When it comes to deciding which retailer gets the sale, three-quarters of PriceGrabber.com’s respondents said they look for retailers that offer free shipping and don’t charge sales tax. Just over half (54%) look for, you guessed it, coupons and discounts.