Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

Buzz Lightyear's popular phrase from Disney’s “Toy Story” films may well apply to consumer shopping during this holiday season and beyond, if recent research by CommerceAdvisor is any indication. The e-commerce firm polled more than a thousand consumers between May and August to understand their current and future shopping behaviors. Here’s what the trends look like:

Since the pandemic was declared in March, 60 percent of the consumers surveyed said they now shop online more frequently than before. Those numbers rose an additional 15 percent between May and August. Most telling was the discovery that more than half of every demographic surveyed was frequenting online platforms. But as expected, the younger generations were there more, with 68 percent of 18-25-year-olds and 36-45 year-olds leading the way. 26-35-year-olds were next with 66 percent, followed by those 46-55 (58 percent). Even more than half (52 percent) of respondents between 56-65-year-olds and those over 65 reported shopping online more frequently.

When asked where they searched for products, 53 percent of respondents said they went directly to Amazon. Search engines like Google and Bing were favored by 23 percent, while brand and retailer websites logged 16 percent. Other marketplaces defined as brands like Walmart, Target and eBay reported at eight percent.

Although Amazon greatly surpassed the field in searches, customers who shopped online were more evenly divided. When asked about time spent shopping online with Amazon, 45 percent said they were spending more time, 46 percent reported the same amount and nine percent said less time. Amazon ranked highest with 26-35-year-olds as 50 percent said they shop there more frequently. By comparison, on non-Amazon sites like Walmart, Target and eBay, 35 percent of respondents said they were spending more time shopping on these sites, while 53 percent said their time on these sites didn’t change. Another eight percent reported less time.

Here’s some encouraging news for marketers: 24 percent of those surveyed said they bought from retailers whom they’d never dealt with before, 26 percent reported having more confidence buying online than pre-pandemic and 36 percent bought items they’d never purchased before online.

More optimism is ahead for marketers active on digital platforms and lead generation. 46 percent said they expect to do more holiday shopping online this year. 24 percent even said they anticipate spending more this season. As if to mirror the earlier search findings, Amazon led the way, with 65 percent of consumers saying they expect to begin their searches there.

The big concern among respondents is receiving purchases in time during the season; 47 percent expressed that concern. On the other hand, 78 percent understood the possibility of delays and said they were willing to wait longer. Another 41 percent said they intend to use in-store or curbside pickup this season.

Overall, 52 percent of those polled said they expect to shop more online in the future. Those numbers rose 38 percent between May and August alone. Leading the way again were 18-25-year-olds at 64 percent. 36-45-year-olds followed at 59 percent, and those 26-35 at 57 percent. Though still strong, every older demographic fell below 50 percent to 44 percent.

When it comes to groceries, however, older generations still appear to favor in-store shopping. Only 15 percent of those over 65 expect to buy groceries online after the pandemic is over. 19 percent of 46-55-year-olds and 23 percent of 46-55-year-olds had similar responses. It was almost split between 36-45-year-olds, with 46 percent saying they still expect to buy groceries online. 51 percent of 18-25 and 26-35-year-olds expressed the same optimism.


Ronn Torossian is CEO of leading PR firm 5WPR.