Let me guess: You bought something online today, didn’t you?
It’s OK! I’m not judging.
Wondering how I knew?
Well, the average customer makes at least two transactions online every day, according to PYMNTS.
Their research shows that retail purchases and food or grocery orders make up a big percentage of those purchases.
It’s obvious that digital shopping (which accelerated during the pandemic) is here to stay.
But it will take a little more for your brand to stay relevant in a shopper’s wallet.
I conducted two surveys of 1,000 people each to gain insights into their online buying behaviors, so I can inform you of what similar trends you can expect to see in 2023.
Let’s see what consumer buying behavior trends are going to stick.
How Consumer Shopping Is Impacted By Marketing
You are exposed to all kinds of ads and messages about products when you shop.
These ads might come from TV, social media, or even email.
Have you ever noticed that some of these ads stick with you and make you want to buy something?
For example, you become aware of new products and brands you might not have discovered otherwise. Ads can also shape your perception of a brand, making it seem more appealing or trustworthy.
Marketing also triggers certain emotions. A really touching ad might make you feel connected to a brand and more likely to buy from them.
By understanding what motivates consumers and tailoring messages accordingly, businesses can be highly successful in getting people to buy their products.
Here are some of the ways marketing impacts consumer purchasing behavior:
- Awareness: When consumers become aware of a new product or service and how it makes their lives better, they may be more likely to purchase it.
- Brand perception: A well-crafted marketing campaign can create a positive image and association with a brand, making it more appealing to consumers.
- Emotion: Marketing that evokes emotion, such as a heartwarming commercial, may make consumers feel connected to a brand and lead them to choose that brand over others.
- Discounts and promotions: Offering discounts or promotions can incentivize consumers to purchase a particular product.
- Influencers: Consumers may trust the opinions of influencers they follow and be more likely to purchase a product those influencers recommend.
Marketing plays a crucial role in shaping consumer buying behavior and influencing their shopping decisions. By understanding pricing psychology and tailoring marketing messages accordingly, businesses can effectively reach their target audiences and drive sales.
What Behavior Is Driving Online Shopping?
Converting the cart is the goal.
This we know.
But how do we know what’s driving the ever-evolving expectations of online shopping behavior?
There are many factors that influence the customer’s decision-making process.
For one, visuals are a main driver.
People remember 80 percent of what they see or do.
So, all your visual content—down to the colors used in your ads—contributes as psychological triggers to converting a sale.
One historical force driving consumer buying behavior trends in online shopping was the COVID-19 pandemic.
This essentially sparked the rise of hybrid shopping—those shopping in-store and online.
It took new tactics, like including more local-based keywords and garnering more reviews, to keep up with household-name brands (not to mention SEO for Google Ads space).
It altered search trends, which impacted how a business generates leads.
With altered search trends comes altered behavior.
Another behavior stemming from the pandemic is how often people were online.
Not only were people online to keep track of the latest news updates, but they were also on social media.
The fast-paced progression of social e-commerce showed everyone the power of the new platform on the block, TikTok.
Remember the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt? It was a sign of the platform’s growing influence. It grew so much that almost half its users purchased items they’d seen while scrolling the app.
New consumer behavior trends in online shopping mean you’ll have to step up your marketing strategy.
Not only to support your sales but to embrace current events, emerging technologies, and most importantly, learn how to create a positive and convenient customer experience.
How Behavior Leads to Shopping Action
Stay current on consumer shopping habits no matter what product or service you sell.
You will need to understand your customers and shift with their expectations to serve them effectively.
To influence online shopping behavior in your favor, you have to prompt buyers to act.
Other than offering quality products and services, providing a welcoming online experience goes a long way.
A consumer may act when compelled to.
Do you have calls to action (CTAs) prompting them to want to do more?
For example, if you have an augmented reality (AR) feature on your product page and a user can preview what that product will look like in their home, they may be compelled to add it to their cart. Why? Because that high-level feature provided them with a good user experience.
What they desire or what will enhance their lifestyle is ultimately what they’re looking for—and you’re virtually showing them how your product answers their call.
Once you see how customers react, you’ll have transactional data to pick up on consumer buying behavior trends in online shopping.
What Our Data Says About Online Shopping Experience
My team and I ran two surveys—one focused on online shopping behavior in May 2022 and another on e-commerce shopping experiences in March 2023—to get a feel for consumer buying behavior trends. We surveyed 1,000 people in each, for a total of 2,000.
Here are some of the bigger takeaways:
- Haul videos created by influencers or content creators can convert your target audience, so be open to affiliate marketing.
- Focusing on younger generations is a smart play because they are the age groups mainly shopping online.
- Posting your products online is critical since social e-commerce is so convenient for users. (For example, this is a great way to funnel in impulse buyers.)
- Robust production descriptions with images or even videos are a must to assure users they’re getting a quality product that meets their expectations.
- Online shopping is still absolutely critical post-COVID. Users are not going back to pre-pandemic shopping ways and are still utilizing a hybrid approach when purchasing items.
Based on your specific industry and customer base, there may be more specific trends to follow. But these make good starting points to capitalize on modern consumer buying behavior.
Now, let’s dive into the data.
We conducted our two surveys to see what drives users to shop and, ultimately, pull the trigger on a purchase.
We’ll begin with our May 2022 online shopping behavior poll. All respondents shop online at least once a week, and we had an almost even 50/50 split men and women providing feedback.
The demographics based on age were telling of your potential U.S. shoppers, with more than 60 percent ranging from 21 to 41 years old:
Another interesting takeaway is that almost 75 percent of them have bought something online because they saw it via social media.
Remember those numbers from TikTok I mentioned earlier?
Of the women who responded to this survey, about 70 percent said they had bought something they saw on social media.
Of the men surveyed, about 80 percent said they had bought something they saw on social media.
These responses suggest that men are more likely to purchase something they have seen on social media than women.
About 75 percent of the 21- to 25-year-olds said they had bought something online because they saw it via social media. Many might think that those in their early 20s ordered the most online.
That isn’t the case.
In fact, 78 percent of 26- to 41-year-olds said they had bought something online because they saw it via social media.
What Motivates Impulse Shopping?
Digging deeper into our May 2022 poll, we notice that nearly 23 percent of respondents said that 50 percent of their purchases are impulse purchases, followed by a little over 22 percent saying that 75 percent of purchases are impulse purchases.
Looking at the data by gender:
- 25 percent of men said that 75 percent of their purchases are impulse buys
- 22 percent said that 50 percent of their purchases are impulse buys
- 20 percent said that 25 percent of their purchases were impulse buys
- 14 percent said that 100 percent of their purchases are impulse buys
When it comes to women:
- 25 percent stated that 50 percent of their purchases are impulse buys
- 22 percent said that 25 percent of their purchases are impulse buys
- Almost 20 percent said that 75 percent of their purchases were impulse buys
- 8 percent said that 100 percent of their purchases are impulse buys
While the numbers are similar, they do suggest that men are more impulsive shoppers than women.
All respondents younger than 60 were more likely to make more impulsive purchases than those over 60.
That’s probably due to the popularity of haul videos on social media.
Content on social media that’s pushed by you, influencers, or user-generated content (UGC) creators can be very influential on your target audience. Need proof? Consider that haul videos have amassed a 13 times increase in views in recent years.
Over 50 percent of those surveyed said that they had made a purchase from a haul video.
About 30 percent of men said they watch haul videos to discover new products they may want to purchase, and 60 percent of them made purchases.
About 55 percent of women said, “No, they do not make purchases from haul videos,” whereas 45 percent do. Almost 40 percent of women say that they watch the haul videos to discover new products that they might want to purchase.
Now let’s check out the data around impulsivity and the e-commerce shopping experience from our second survey, conducted in March 2023:
We had just a few more women (57 percent) providing feedback than men of the 1,000 polled.
The first question we asked the group was: What is most likely to motivate you to start shopping for a non-essential item?
- 30 percent said it’s because they “saw an advertisement.”
- 26.7 percent said they were influenced by word of mouth from their social circle.
- 25.7 percent marked “having a surplus of money and wanting something to spend it on.”
- 12.7 percent said “an influencer on social media” motivated them.
- 5 percent said “seeing a stranger using the item” influenced them to start shopping.
This goes to show that advertisements may be a great first touch for users who aren’t sure they want to shop for something but then draw motivation from an ad they see.
Next, we asked: How many times, on average, do you think you go to a site before you make a purchase on it?
- 44 percent of people said two times.
- 26.8 percent of people said three times.
- 14.7 percent of people said more than four times.
- 14.5 percent of people said on the first visit (one time).
What’s their motivation to start a search and shop? It might be that 30 percent said the main trigger was seeing an advertisement.
That ties in closely with the number of site visits it takes for a user to make a purchase.
For example, a shopper might see an advertisement and then search (or click on the ad). About 45 percent would need to return to the site before being convinced to make a purchase.
Knowing that our last poll in May 2022 measured the percentage of impulse buys respondents make, our March 2023 survey looked at who would purchase a product from a site on their first visit:
- 39.3 percent of those who would purchase on the first visit were motivated to start shopping for a non-essential item due to seeing an advertisement.
- 24.1 percent of these more impulsive shoppers also need to see only one product image before they would consider purchasing.
Those who said they would purchase something on the first visit are more likely to put up with a more difficult user experience.
When looking at impulse shoppers and whether they would leave a site with an intrusive interstitial, those surveyed were split nearly 50/50.
This is much different than when we look at the total of those surveyed. Among all respondents, 60 percent said they’d leave the site.
What Sets Impulse Shoppers Apart
This is a big difference from those who’d visit a site twice before considering a purchase. Over 30 percent of the respondents who needed two visits would need to see three product images before they’d consider purchasing.
Product images go a long way toward reassuring shoppers that they’re getting a quality product, which our survey shows is a big concern.
When buying a product online versus in person, more than 44 percent of respondents said they’re concerned with the quality of the product meeting expectations.
Another 36.3 percent are concerned whether the product will accurately meet their needs based on the product description, illustrating the importance of creating robust product descriptions.
The Post-Pandemic Effect
Stores reopening after the pandemic has not had a major impact on online shopping behavior.
Of those surveyed in our May 2022 online shopping poll, 40 percent stated that they shopped online just the same as they were during the pandemic, another 40 percent said they shopped online more, and the remaining 20 percent shopped online less.
This just shows that you need to keep your website optimized and always ready for traffic.
Need more proof?
Let’s look at the numbers from our March 2023 e-commerce survey. We asked participants where they’d be most likely to make a purchase if a brand-new product came out that they were interested in.
Online won out, with the majority (39.2 percent) responding that they would purchase that product online.
But don’t completely ignore the in-person experience, as 29.6 percent said they’d make a purchase in person, and another 31.2 percent said they’d opt for a hybrid experience.
Consumer Buying Behavior From 2022 to 2023
You may see new customers influenced by your social media or other content made about your brand.
Think about being prepared, kind of like Amazon has to be.
If 20 percent of our May 2022 survey respondents place three orders on Amazon a month, would your business be prepared if you were Amazon?
A little over 15 percent said they place more than five orders per month.
There’s a true demand based on online shopping behavior.
So, e-commerce businesses need to be ready for online shoppers.
Even as trends change, accessibility and ease of transaction will always be in for customers.
With that said, what exactly makes a site more accessible and easier for transactions regarding customers is going to vary and grow over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer buying behavior refers to the actions and decisions people make when purchasing products or services. This can range from personal preferences, perceived value, social influence, and past experiences. Understanding consumer buying behavior will help you to develop effective marketing strategies and meet the needs and wants of your target audience.
The four types of consumer buying behavior are:
Complex buying behavior: The customer is highly involved and does extensive research before purchasing a product.
Dissonance-reducing buying behavior: The customer is uncertain about the product and seeks information to avoid buyer’s remorse.
Habitual buying behavior: This customer purchasing behavior doesn’t factor in much thought or research.
Variety-seeking buying behavior: Customer seeks out new experiences and trial of different products.
Understanding these behaviors can help businesses tailor their marketing strategies and meet the needs of different customer segments.
The three major factors that can affect customer buying behavior are:
1. Personal factors: These are individual characteristics such as age, gender, income, occupation, lifestyle, and personality. These factors can influence a consumer’s purchasing behavior based on their personal preferences and needs.
2. Psychological factors: This internal mental process can affect buying behavior, like motivation, perception, learning, and attitudes. These factors often stem from cultural and social norms, personal beliefs, and values.
3. Situational factors: External circumstances can affect a customer’s purchasing behavior, too. This is usually the physical environment, time, and social surroundings. For example, a customer may have varying purchasing behavior depending on the time of day or location.
There are so many new consumer buying behavior trends in online shopping that have blossomed over the years.
It can be a little tough keeping up.
However, the best thing to do is understand the trends and learn your target audience’s online shopping behavior.
It’ll be a key part of how your e-commerce success shapes up.
Once you understand the trends, you can improve your offerings, market the target audience in a way they’ll receive it best, and increase customer loyalty and revenue.
The data we’ve collected can be paired with other psychology of marketing resources to adopt into your marketing strategy.
There are so many opportunities you can set up for an ideal shopping experience and see shoppers convert.
Do you want to understand online consumer behavior a bit better? Ask your questions below, and I’ll give you some tips.
See How My Agency Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website
- SEO - unlock more SEO traffic. See real results.
- Content Marketing - our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
- Paid Media - effective paid strategies with clear ROI.
Are You Using Google Ads? Try Our FREE Ads Grader!
Stop wasting money and unlock the hidden potential of your advertising.
- Discover the power of intentional advertising.
- Reach your ideal target audience.
- Maximize ad spend efficiency.