Why Shop Online? It's Easy

New survey underscores a key draw of ecommerce: convenience

Author: Jennifer King

March 30, 2018

Convenience was an early driver of consumer adoption of ecommerce, and new survey data indicates that ease of use remains the critical factor when consumers make the decision to shop online.

According to a survey of US internet users by CivicScience in March 2018, fully 43% of respondents cited convenience as the primary reason to make a digital purchase. That was a far higher percentage than any other factor.

The convenience factor was cited across a variety of subgroups. For instance, parents, grandparents and nonparents all cited convenience as the primary factor in the survey, with more than four in 10 in each category saying so.

Nonparents were much more likely, though, to cite pricing as a driving factor, as were—not surprisingly—millennials and lower-income shoppers. 

The CivicScience data aligns with previous research that points to convenience and price transparency as the top motivators behind ecommerce preferences.

An April 2017 survey by Fluent LLC found convenience and cheaper prices were top reasons US internet users prefer ecommerce over shopping in-store. Similarly to CivicScience, Fluent found 52% of consumers like ecommerce because it’s convenient, and 39% shop online because it’s cheaper.  

And according to an October 2017 survey by Arvato, nearly six in 10 US adults prefer ecommerce to in-store shopping. Respondents’ ecommerce preference was due to a number of factors, one of which was price transparency.

According to Arvato, 61% of those polled said it is easier to price compare online vs. in-store. Likewise, 19% of respondents would abandon an in-store purchase if a cheaper price was found while looking online.