E-Commerce Dips Slightly, According To Online Study

In an announcement equivalent to kicking sand at the beach or raining on the parade, Internet marketing research company Greenfield Online said that online shopping decreased three percent this past quarter, the first e-commerce decrease the company’s surveys have revealed in the past year.

Westport, Connecticut-based Greenfield Online released the results of its survey on Monday. The company said that its Digital Consumer Shopping Index is drawn from 2,598 respondents from its nationwide panel of over one million online participants.

In bucking the phenomenal growth trend of recent months, e-commerce “window shopping” also decreased this past quarter and most of the online shopping baskets the company surveyed were lighter than usual.

However, there were some bright spots, Greenfield Online said. Online auctions rose three percentage posits. The company said a growing number of online consumers are making multiple purchases, and a large majority say they plan to make the same amount or more in the future.

“Because the Internet is an entirely new distribution channel, we cannot be certain of all the reasons for the slight decline this spring,” said Greenfield Online VP, Brin Bell. “That’s why a tracking study like ours is significant for companies engaged in e-commerce and the retail industry in general.”

CDs Overtake Books

If Greenfield Online’s findings were accurate, the survey would be one of the first to show the e-commerce industry hesitating in its tracks. The company said it was their fifth fielding of the survey, which allowed for a full-year of comparisons. The study was weighted to represent the total Internet population in terms of age, gender and region.

Greenfield Online also said that, for the first time, compact discs overtook books as the top online purchase. Books placed second in their Top 5 list, trailed by computer software, computer hardware and airline tickets.

Founded in 1994, Greenfield Online conducts custom client research and syndicated marketing research. The company’s syndicated research includes: NetStyles, a tracking of how the Internet affects family life; PulseFinder, which tracks the buying power of 14 million college students; and Lesbian and Gay Market Study, a research database on demographics for the gay and lesbian communities.

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