Who is Shopping Online and on Mobile in the US? The Answers Might Surprise You.

Running a successful store means understanding your customers. Are they millennials, baby boomers, or people of all ages? Are you mostly selling to women? Do your customers buy things on their smartphones? How much money do they make?

BI Intelligence has released a handy report recently, reporting on the demographics of who shops online and on mobile.

Men and Women Both Shop Online

We’ve seen in recent years that women are big eCommerce spenders, and are driving the success of shopping-friendly social network Pinterest. So it might surprise you to know that men drive nearly as much spending online in the US as women. 52% of men bought something online in 2013, compared to 57% of women.

But Men Are More Likely to Make Mobile Purchases

Perhaps even more surprisingly, men are more likely to make purchases on mobile than women. In 2013, 22% of men bought something using their smartphones, compared with 18% of women.

Millennials Spend the Most Online

Millennials (aged 18-34) are the key demographic age group for online commerce. Millennials spend more money online each year than any other age group, $2,000 annually on average.

Millennials dancing

Boomers and Seniors Are Going Mobile

But Boomers and Seniors have adopted mobile commerce. One in four US mobile shoppers is over the age of 55.

Older cohorts should not be underestimated as online and mobile users and shoppers. For example, the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket. While on Facebook and Google+ the fastest growing demographic is 45-54 year olds.

Online Shoppers Have Higher Incomes

Online shoppers in the US live in households with higher incomes. More than half of online shoppers live in homes with an annual household income of $75,000 per year. 40% of online shoppers live in households that make more than $100,000 per year.

Online Shoppers are Well Educated

According to a Washington Post article on the BI Intelligence report, people who shop online in the US also tend to have a higher education level.

78% of US adults who shop online have some college education, while 46% have college degrees.

Man smoking pipe

What Does All This Mean For You?

These statistics give you a good basis for beginning to understand your customer base (at least in the US).

For example, if you’d written-off finding male customers for your mobile commerce store, think again. Same goes for Boomers or Seniors, who if you think about it, can often be just as guilty of smartphone addiction as Gen-Y.

It’s also worth remembering that US online shoppers are relatively wealthy and well educated. So competing on price and selling commodity products might not be the best strategy. Finding a premium niche for selling high quality, or personalised, items, might be a better way to go.

It might seem easier to understand your customer when running a bricks and mortar store and interacting with them face-to-face. But with a bit of background research and analysis of the ample data that’s available online, you can get to know your eCommerce and mCommerce customers too.


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