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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide

One Year Ago: Younger, Less Affluent E-Buyers Shop Around

By Chet Dembeck
Dec 7, 2000 4:16 PM PT

Originally published on December 9, 1999 and brought to you today as a time capsule.

According to a new study by Forrester Research, online shoppers who visit three or four different Web sites before making a purchase are younger and earn $6,000 (US$) less per year than those who buy after visiting only one or two sites.

One Year Ago: Younger, Less Affluent E-Buyers Shop Around

While the typical online shopper visits an average of 2.4 Web sites before buying, Forrester found that consumers who shop around more extensively differ from their counterparts in other ways as well.

Online comparison shoppers are not Web novices and have been buying online longer. They also spend more total hours online -- 25 percent per week -- than those who do less comparison shopping.

The study found that the average age of an online shopper who does little comparison shopping was about 41 years, compared to an average age of 38 for those who heavily compared prices. It also showed that of those who heavily comparison shop, about 66 percent were female.

In addition, the average household income of someone less likely to comparison shop is $62,975, compared to an average household income of $57,013 for someone who will make the rounds.

Spend More $$

Heavy comparison shoppers on average have spent nearly $400 online in the past three months -- 50 percent more than other online shoppers. They are also more sophisticated Web shoppers and are more likely to use price-comparison search engines like MySimon.com to help find the best deal.

Nonetheless, Forrester discovered that even though some shoppers compare more than others, what they buy also has an impact on how much time they are willing to spend shopping around.

Less Comparison

For instance, the report found that online shoppers do little comparison on such items as books and CDs, because these commodity products do not vary much in price from site to site.

However, consumers spend the most time comparison shopping for high-ticket items like computer hardware, electronics or travel packages. Forrester found that nearly two-thirds of consumers visit three or more sites before making such a purchase.

Still, while books and DVD players are easily compared online, clothing is not. The report said that more than one-third of online apparel shoppers visit only one site each time they buy clothing. In fact, most online shoppers buy branded clothing with little or no comparison shopping.

Intense Comparison

Forrester concludes that online comparison shopping will become even more intense as more consumers come online and those already buying via the Internet gain more experience.

Therefore, it expects comparison-shopping engines to proliferate.

"These sites will take advantage of shoppers' moderate desire to quickly price-check CDs and books before buying by comparing prices and availability for a basket of products across multiple merchants," the report adds.

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