Online Shoppers Care Most About Price

People in highest income brackets were more likely to make price their top priority than those who earn the least.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

December 6, 2007

2 Min Read

Prices and free shipping are key factors for online shoppers this year, according to a recent survey.

Guidance, a company that provides consultation and support for online businesses, released results this week from a survey of U.S. consumers in late November. The survey, conducted by Synovate, found that price is the single most important factor for online shoppers this year, with 43% of Americans saying that it's the most important factor in determining whether they buy something online.

Eighteen percent of respondents said they favor free shipping and promotions, while coupons ranked third in order of importance, with 8% of respondents saying it was the most important factor.

Seven percent of respondents said recommendations and product reviews rank highest in terms of influencing their online purchases, while just 4% of the 1,000 adults polled cited speed and efficiency of checkout. Slightly more than 2% said in-store pickup and return policies weighed in their decisions.

When the same respondents were asked to list their second most important factor, 41% chose free shipping and 24% selected price. Ten percent cited features, 14.5% chose special promotions or coupons; 8% cited speed and efficiency of checkout; and 3.5% cited in-store pickups and returns.

Researchers concluded that the United States' "uncertain economic climate" is shaping shoppers' priorities.

"Clearly, the economic climate is driving bargain hunting," Jason Meugniot, Guidance president and CEO, said in a statement. "The Internet has opened a vast new world of low-cost purchase options for online buyers. While the online buying experience has improved markedly in recent years, at the end of the day -- especially a day of financial uncertainty -- price matters."

Meugniot said that site navigation and layout can help people find deals easily, while presentation can help them better determine products' values.

The eNation survey also found that almost 19% of people polled online said they do not shop online. Those who said they care about price the least are also the least likely to buy online, the survey found.

Men were more likely than women to say that price is their top priority (46% and 40%, respectively) and people in the two highest income brackets were significantly more likely to make price their top priority than those who earn the least.

Of those earning $50,000 to $75,000, 53% said price was most important, while 37% of those earning less than $25,000 agreed.

Price is most important to those ages 18-24 (53%) and relatively less important to those 65 and up (30%).

People from age 25 to 34 are most likely to shop online, with only 9% of respondents in that age group saying they don't shop online. Thirty percent of those over 65 said they do not shop online.

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