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A new subset of online shoppers is just looking for something to do

Rising levels of consumer boredom during the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on e-commerce shopping habits.

According to consumer poll data from Pitney Bowes, one in four respondents admit to shopping online because they are bored. Broken down generationally, this includes 48% of Gen Z respondents, 38% of millennials, 27% of Gen X, and 15% of boomers. 

Bored shoppers are more likely than consumers overall to begin their online shopping journey on social media. Facebook indexes 15% higher as a starting point for bored shoppers, followed by Instagram (11% higher), Twitter (8% higher), and TikTok (4% higher). Major online platforms Google (5% higher) and Amazon (3%) higher are also popular with bored shoppers.

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BOXpoll by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture, and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult // 2094 US consumers surveyed Aug. 21-24, 2020. © Copyright 2020 Pitney Bowes Inc.

Popular product categories among bored online shoppers include:

  • Household supplies (toilet paper, detergent, etc.): +30%
  • Apparel (clothing, but not footwear or accessories): +17%
  • Personal Care/Beauty/Nutraceuticals: +14%
  • Toys/Hobbies/Gifts (games, DIY, crafts, etc.): +14%
  • Accessories (bags, purses, belts, hats, etc.): +12%
  • Consumer electronics (TVs, stereo systems, etc.): +11%
  • Footwear: +9% 
  • Home goods/décor/improvement (furniture, decorations, building/garden supplies): +8% 
  • Jewelry (rings, necklaces, etc.): +6%
  • Automotive (car/motorcycle/boat parts and supplies): +5% 
  • Food/beverage (groceries, meal kits, alcohol, etc.): +5%
  • Office supplies (print/paper products, writing tools, home office): +5% 
  • Pet supplies (dog/cat food, accessories, etc.): +4% 

Bored shoppers may not be turning to physical activity to cure their ennui. Sporting goods (sports equipment & specialty apparel, not including ‘athleisure’) actually indexed 3% lower among bored shoppers than shoppers overall.

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