The gap between browsing and buying online is closing, Nielsen, the global information and measurement company, reported.
In its new Global Survey of E-commerce, Nielsen found that online purchase intentions for products like clothing, event tickets, e-books and toys have doubled since 2011. Specifically, 46 percent of global respondents said they intend to make an online clothing purchase in the next six months.
Nielsen president of strategic initiatives John Burbank owed the strong one-to-one correlation between online searches and shopping to consumers’ more adventurous and exploratory approach to online shopping. He said, “Consumers everywhere want a good product at a good price, and the seemingly limitless options available in a virtual environment provide new opportunities for both merchants and consumers. The market for fast-moving consumer goods is no exception.”
No region of shoppers better exemplifies that intrepid consumer mindset than in Latin America, which notched the highest online browsing rates. However, the region’s online buying rates were the lowest in all 22 categories named in the study. In contrast, online buying rates in Asia-Pacific are the highest and surpass browsing rates for more than 14 categories; meaning consumers are comfortable buying without browsing online first.
Burbank said, “Latin Americans are enthusiastic online shoppers, but the online retail infrastructure has not yet caught up with offering conversion opportunities.” He added, “Other barriers to e-commerce success include Internet access, shipping costs, high taxes and problematic delivery logistics. Asia is the farthest down the e-commerce maturity curve—in Asia-Pacific, tech-savvy consumers have already embraced the convenience of online shopping. Attracting new buyers using mobile could be an accelerator in developing markets, as it provides greater and faster access to more people.”
Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa share similar online browsing and buying rates, however, Nielsen expects that will change as more consumers in areas where disposable income is low and online shopping is not a priority, begin to move up the socio-economic ladder.
The amount of consumable products like cosmetics, personal care products and groceries searched for and purchased online is expected to change, too. The study found that consumable products have lower online browse to buy intention rates than non-consumable products, however their browse-to-buy correlation rates are just as strong.
Burbank added, “While these categories are still in the early stages of online adoption, these correlation rates signal great news for online retailers. Now is the time to create omni-channel experiences for consumers who are actively using both digital and physical platforms to research and purchase, as consumers increasingly don’t make a distinction between the two.”