Global ecommerce trends- How online shopping varies around the world


Brits, Americans and Germans beat Monday blues with e-tail therapy; Brazilians most likely to shop online at work, while the French soothe stresses of childcare with some internet shopping, according to new research looking into online shopping trends around the world. Online retailer Rakuten used data mined from traffic and sales through its global online marketplaces (including in the UK), to look at how local differences shape the online shopping habits of consumers across the globe.

The results highlight how shoppers fit online retail around and even into their working lives, the increasing popularity of mobile shopping with smartphone wielding consumers, and differences in how consumers approach and consider the purchases of higher- and lower-value items.

Peak shopping times

Rakuten’s data reveals how online retail therapy is a common antidote to the ‘back-to-work blues’, with the US, UK and Germany all clocking their highest browsing figures on Mondays. In France, where young schoolgoers only attend classes four days a week, data shows that online shopping peaks on Wednesdays when parents often stay home to look after their children. In Brazil, where domestic broadband penetration is relatively low, online shoppers are most likely to splash the cash online when they are at work, according to Rakuten Brazil. However, far from shirking work responsibilities in order to make purchases, they typically use a lunch break to shop, with activity peaking between midday and 2pm.

Mobile shopping

In both the US and UK, peak time for mobile browsing occurs in the morning, although earlier in the UK. Perhaps reflecting the greater usage of public transport in the UK, which affords greater opportunity for browsing, mobile browsing surges between 7-8am, when many workers are mid-commute. In the US, the morning peak in browsing occurs at around 10am. Conversely, in France shoppers are most likely to use a mobile device between to shop between 6-7pm.

Dwell times

During their online and mobile shopping experiences, consumers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, spending more time browsing categories that tend to have a higher pricetag. In the US consumers are far more considered when selecting computers, electronics, clothing and bags, where an average of 4.4 to 4.7 minutes is spent viewing before purchasing. This compares with around 3 minutes for lower priced items. Browser dwell times indicate that fashion and literature are Brits’ online impulse purchase items of choice, with the average user dwelling just over 40 seconds on clothes before purchase and under a minute on books, compared to considered purchases such as TVs which have an average dwell time of around 2 minutes. One interesting anomaly is evident in Brazil, where relatively high-value mobile phones typically see very low dwell times, suggesting consumers have already researched products online and then will make a purchase based solely on price.

Mark Kirschner, Executive Officer, global marketing at Rakuten commented: “E-commerce is a truly global phenomenon and insights from across our network highlight the importance of understanding local differences and how they should shape the approach online merchants take. Rakuten is an exponent of combining a global outlook with the local touch, and by taking this approach retailers can rapidly target and service new markets. We believe the Rakuten model and philosophy supports quick and simple expansion, and consumer insight lies at the heart of this approach.”

Adam Stewart, Marketing Director, Rakuten’s commented: “These findings demonstrate how e-commerce has become a part of our everyday lives, making retail more pervasive than it has ever been. Thanks to mobile devices, consumers in the UK are now able to make purchases during their commute, while in France parents can now order groceries online while looking after the children, without having to drag them to the supermarket. Consumers still make considered choices, taking longer to decide on more expensive items, but in certain cases, savvy shoppers are clearly doing their research before purchasing, harnessing the power of the internet and social networks to make informed choices.”

Shopping trends data was taken from Rakuten’s (UK), (US), Rakuten Deutschland (Germany), Priceminister (France) and Rakuten Brazil subsidiaries. Through partnerships and acquisitions, Rakuten also operates in Indonesia, Russia, Spain and Canada, as well as in Japan.

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