What buyers want: e-commerce survey

What buyers want: e-commerce survey

E-commerce sales may be quick in the next couple of years, so that they will stay in 2023. Global e-commerce sales will top $5 trillion for the first time this year, accounting for more than one-fifth of total retail sales.

A new BigCommerce survey found that 55% of consumers buy online at least once a week, with fashion and clothing the most likely purchases. The survey also found that consumers want personalized shopping and advertising and are willing to share their email addresses, gender, and name with brands to get that experience.

What does the survey show?

The survey collected responses from 4,222 people in five countries (USA, UK, Italy, France, and Australia) to a series of questions about their current shopping habits and their understanding and readiness for future shopping trends. The survey was conducted by ProfitWell in March, co-branded with Google.

The survey found that 10% of consumers shop online four to six times a week, and 21% shop once a month or less.

Once consumers find a product they’re interested in, they quickly move on to the next step. For example, users take some action immediately after discovering new products, services, or brands, including visiting the brand’s website to learn more or buying directly from the offer.

80% of consumers buy fashion online, followed by electronics at 56%, entertainment and media (55%), personal care products (47%), groceries (45%), and home (44%).

Incentives to purchase

While shoppers are still looking for quality items, other factors are now influencing their online purchasing decisions. However, the survey found that consumers are most interested in free shipping.

While consumers in France and Italy prefer free shipping, their preference for discounts is more muted than in the other regions surveyed. Also, consumers in Italy prefer free returns. However, sales and discounts are special for consumers in the USA, UK, and Australia.

Purchase options

A previous BigCommerce report on consumer spending found that shoppers are more likely to spend more at a retailer buying that offers their preferred payment method. The latest information confirmed the data of the previous survey.


Personalization drives loyalty. A Google and Storyline Strategies study found that 72% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand if it offers a personalized experience with additional rewards and benefits. This applies to advertising. Another Google Feed Consumer Insights study found that 67% of users bought or planned to buy something after seeing a personalized ad.

Consumers are also willing to share the information needed to facilitate a personalized experience, which is becoming increasingly important as search engines begin to remove tracking cookies from their platforms. Only 28% of respondents did not want to share personal information such as name, email address, or gender.

37% of respondents said their willingness depended on what information the brand asked for, and another 30% said it turned on the brand. 31% said they would be willing to share information for personalized shopping or advertising.


Consumers are interested in supporting brands that value trust and loyalty, which extends to sustainability. In a BigCommerce survey, 32% of respondents rated sustainability as very important, and 52% said it was somewhat critical to their purchasing decision.

The younger the buyer, the more likely they are to consider sustainability a factor in their purchasing decision, with 41% of Gen Z shoppers saying it is essential and another 51% saying it is somewhat important, compared to 24% and 49%, respectively among Baby Boomers.


More than ever before, today’s brands must put consumers at the center of everything they do. From offering the right incentives and options to personalizing the shopping experience, brands must cater to specific consumer preferences to influence shoppers’ purchasing decisions.

However, more than providing a great online shopping experience is needed to establish loyalty. Brands must build relationships with consumers based on honesty and transparency in everything they do, especially regarding how they treat their employees. Moreover, consumers increasingly prefer to buy brands that prioritize sustainability, and younger generations are willing to pay more for green products.

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