Demystifying the online shopper

The million-dollar question for both retailers and consumer packaged goods companies over the next three-to-five years is how online shopping behavior will continue to evolve. Information can be gleaned from customer data, but that doesn't really shed light on how other shoppers are behaving. Then there's all kind of third-party sources -- but with so much hype concerning multichannel shopping, it's difficult to know what research to trust.


To combat the "noise" constantly bombarding the C-Suite from every direction, PwC is publishing a report entitled, "Demystifying the online shopper: 10 myths of multichannel retailing." This piece of research is based on our annual survey of global online consumers, which this year measures the habits and preferences of online shoppers from 11 different countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Our myths touch on issues ranging from the real role of social media in the online shopping experience, to which devices consumers are actually using to purchase, to the underlying reasons shoppers flock to -- and stay loyal to -- their favorite online and physical stores. As you plan your multichannel strategy, we hope the enclosed document is useful to you.

Some of the highlights from this year's report:
  • While 60% of respondents use social media to follow, discover, and give feedback on brand and retailers, social media is not a major traffic driver to these brands and retailers--just 10% of our survey sample said a social media interaction led them to a specific online store
  • In fact, 17% of Internet users don't buy online at all -- they still prefer to shop entirely in stores
  • When it comes to devices, our respondents overwhelmingly favor the PC to the tablet for online purchases -- 97% go shopping on a PC compared to just 28% on a tablet
  • Over the next 12 months, our sample expects to shop in-store and online via PC far more than they expect to shop online via tablet or via smart phone
  • China is a different story in many ways; for example; 56% of Chinese online consumers have already shopping via a social media platform, versus a global average of 24%
  • More than one in three of our respondents have shopped directly from a brand's website; in the U.S. (52%) and China (56%), more than one in two consumers have leapfrogged the retailer and shopped directly with a brand

We would greatly appreciate getting your thoughts on our report, and hearing about what views and concerns are on the top of your multi-channel agenda.