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Consumers are changing their online shopping motivations

Consumers keep shopping online, but for evolving reasons.

Consumers continue to shop online as the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

According to the latest weekly BOXpoll consumer survey from Pitney Bowes, more than half (56%) of respondents said their motivations for buying online have changed since the height of the pandemic. The number one reason survey respondents selected for shopping online was to save a trip to the store (43%).

These respondents, including 50% of boomers and 45% of GenX, do not mind waiting for delivery. Fear of COVID-19 exposure, while significantly less of a deterrent to in-store shopping now than it was earlier in the pandemic, is still on the minds of 15% of respondents.

The survey also asked consumers how markdowns on items like casual apparel, home appliances and furniture will affect their online purchasing behavior in the next six months, and found that 49% of respondents, including 60% of millennials, plan to buy more online in the next six months because of these trends. At the same time, 15% of all respondents are unlikely to buy discounted items because they are cutting back on spending.

In addition, survey respondents were asked how likely they are to pay for fast shipping while making online purchases, compared to three months ago. Findings include:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of respondents are no more likely to pay for faster shipping than they were three months ago.
  • Almost one in four (23%) surveyed parents and more than one in five (22%) millennial respondents are willing to pay for speed.
  • One-third (33%) of both Gen Z respondents and respondents shopping online more than they were three months ago said they are more likely to upgrade shipping than before.

“This summer will present both new challenges and new opportunities for brands,” said Vijay Ramachandran, VP market strategy, global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes. “Overstocks and markdowns will impact profitability, but also create new openings to sell as a large portion of consumers seek out deals—further aided by the return of Prime Day and other mid-year promotions. At the same time, our survey found a growing number of consumers cutting back on retail spending altogether as they react to record inflation and gas prices, and rising interest rates.

[Read more: How will Prime Day spending compare to last year?]

“Before the pandemic, shoppers were motivated by the convenience of online shopping as an alternative to in-store experiences; now we’re seeing the emergence of more consumers who’ve discovered they genuinely enjoy online shopping,” said Ramachandran. “The joy of online shopping is a behavior that will only grow in the foreseeable future, even eclipsing the ‘I need it now’ mentality for the majority of consumers.”

The BOXpoll consumer survey by Pitney Bowes is a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture and e-commerce logistics. Morning Consult conducts weekly polls on behalf of Pitney Bowes among a national sample of more than 2,000 online shoppers. These results are extracted from surveys conducted over the past month. 

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