Across the globe, shoppers are increasingly turning to the web to buy the things they need. Online shopping offers certain conveniences—from delivering your order right to your door to broad selection and low prices—that brick-and-mortar stores can't. But for certain categories, traditional retail stores still hold the cards.
The most popular e-commerce categories, not surprisingly, are non-consumable—durables and entertainment-related products. Almost half of global respondents in an online survey intend to purchase clothing or make airline or hotel reservations using an online device in the next six months. On the other hand the online market for buying groceries and other consumable products is comparatively smaller. The hands-on buying nature and perishability of these goods limits the usefulness and practicality of buying online.
Nevertheless, the global audience is willing and eager to shop the web. Online purchase intention rates have doubled in three years for 12 of 22 measured categories. While consumable categories will continue to trail non-consumable ones, the frequency of purchasing these products is increasing e-commerce's appeal. And beyond buying, digital is an increasingly important research and engagement platform.
When shopping for non-consumable goods where consumers typically have something in mind, there is mostly a one-to-one correlation between online searching and shopping. Consumable products have lower online browse/buy intention ratest than non-consumable ones, but surprisingly they boast just as strong browse-to-buy correlations.