July 22, 2020No Comments

Why People Buy Things Online

We have all heard that E-commerce is on the rise, but do you know what makes people buy things online? Trying to increase E-sales without knowing the reason behind the increase is like walking while blindfolded. When you don't know where you are going, it is extremely hard to reach your destination.

In this article, we have compiled the key findings and takeaways from 6 credible research reports on the motivation behind online shopping behavior. Which reason seems more relevant for your business? Take a look at the study findings listed below and incorporate the suggested implications to make smarter marketing decisions.

Here they are:

1.      Why People Shop on the Web: Convenience & Accessibility

The Nielson Norman Group conducted extensive research on online consumer purchase behavior. They surveyed more than 2500 online shoppers to determine the reason people shop online. The study found that many factors motivate online shopping, including lower prices, the ability to shop from international sites; the most cited reason was the ease of purchasing things online.

 Key Findings

● 83% of consumers reported that they shop online because it is easier to place orders online.
● 39% said that online shopping is more convenient because they don't have to go to the shop.
● 36% preferred online shopping because of easy payment methods.


If you run an online business, you can benefit from increasing the ease of shopping online. You can do so by enhancing the layout of your website so that the consumer can navigate it easily. Websites that have clear tabs and shopping options observe higher conversions than difficult to use interfaces.

You must also ensure that the website facilitates several payment and verification methods. Offering quick delivery is also a great way to increase convenience. Smartphone applications are more popular than websites because they are more convenient for the user. Therefore, develop an app of your online retail store for higher sales.

2.     The Truth About Online Consumers: Price Comparisons & Better Prices

price Comparison

In 2017, KPMG undertook a huge consumer research project to understand consumer motivation and attitude towards online shopping. The study wanted to understand the increasing E-commerce trend so that retailers can incorporate elements which consumer value to enhance sales and satisfy consumers. The study found multiple reasons that motivate consumers to purchase online, including the ability to shop 24/7, save time, and to locate hard to find items. However, the most commonly reported reason was the ability to compare prices and get better deals.

 Key Findings

● 54% of people said that they like online shopping because they can compare prices from various vendors.
● 46% said they get better prices online.
● 29% said they save a significant amount because of free online shipping.

Key Takeaway

This study confirms that affordability is a major reason why people shop online. Therefore, online retailers will benefit significantly if they offered competitive prices as compared to offline shops. You can also offer sales, flash sales, discounts, and wholesale prices to increase sales.

3.      It's All About the Images: Images Convert

A picture is worth a thousand words is a popular saying, and it holds in the 21st century as well. It's a well-known fact that more than 80% of our purchase decisions are motivated by subconscious cues, and apparently, images are one of them. A report published by MDG Advertising found that human beings are naturally attuned to visuals. Humans are more likely to notice images than words, and that is why online images encourage consumers to buy products.

Key Findings

● Consumers can recall a brand 65 times more if an image is associated with the brand.
● On social media sites, images receive 352% higher engagement than links.
● People say that they are 60% more likely to visit a website if their image pops up in search.
67% of consumers say that they are more likely to open high-quality images than low-quality, gritty images. Consumers said that the quality of an image is essential to selection.
● Interestingly, people value the availability of product image more than they value product specific information (63%), long descriptions (54%), and reviews (53%).


The lesson here is that E-retailers should not skimp on visuals. Consumers are more likely to purchase online products because of the images attached to the product. When a consumer sees the image of a product they like; it's more probable that they will end up purchasing it.

4.     Why Consumers Shop Online in 2020: More Product Variety

Buy Online

Episerver published a report on online consumer shopping habits in 2020 after surveying 4000 global online shoppers. Their research revealed that consumers are inclined to purchase online because they can find a wide variety of products without having to visit different retailers.

Key Findings

● 60% of people said they like shopping online because they can access a broad selection of products from the comfort of their home.
● 38% said they prefer online shopping because they can find hard to locate products.
● 20% said online shopping allows them to purchase products from foreign countries.


Online retailers should ensure that they have a large selection of products they are selling. However, do make sure that the products you include align with your brand and your target audience. Including products that don't appeal to your target audience will not sell. What is more, your digital marketing strategy should include personalization to enhance conversions.

5.     Compulsive Buying Tendency

Online: Higher Access to Internet & Credit Facilities

A peer-reviewed research study published by the University of Sussex looked into the compulsive online buying trends among millions. The study was very insightful; it found that millennials prefer to buy online because they have higher access to online facilities, including the internet, computer systems, and smartphones.

Young consumers buy online because their mobile phone is their shopping mall, as every product is just a few clicks away. Secondly, millennials are more comfortable using online technologies than the older generation; therefore, it seems natural for them to shop online as well.

Key Findings

● E-commerce increased to 16% of the total retail sales in 2018 as compared to 14.4% in the previous year.
● More than 55% of all retail sales were made using a mobile phone in 2019 as compared to 31% in 2015.
● The global mobile usage increased to 18.24 exabytes in 2019 as compared to 11.97 exabytes in 2018.


People are shopping online, and they are using their smartphones to do so. Therefore, E-retailers should invest in responsive websites that are mobile compatible as well as mobile applications to boost their sales. Smartphones have become essential to the modern consumer, and so it's no surprise that they are purchasing from their smartphone as well. Investing in mobile technology is an excellent choice to secure future sales.

6.     The Psychology of Stuff and Things: Fanboy Shopping

fanboy shopping

A study published by The Psychologist argues that the material things consumers purchase are an extension of their personality. People purchase products that tell others who they are and who they belong with. Their material possessions represent their demographic, psychographic, and behavioral tendencies. The study said that the online world characterized by influencers had created brand communities like never before. Consumers want to purchase a product, not out of necessity, but to show their association with the brand. This fanboy culture is one of the top reasons for the increase in online purchases recently.

Key Findings

● Material objects are intertwined with selfhood. Consumers purchase objects that validate their sense of self.
● Consumers purchase objects to signal something about their personality to their peers. For instance, people purchase clothes from a high-end brand to signal that they are affluent. Similarly, people purchase Apple products because they want to be seen as innovative and
● Human attachment to material things deepens with time.


There are two practical implications for E-commerce vendors in this study; firstly, they should target consumers who are more likely to associate themselves with your brand. Secondly, encourage consumers to take ownership of your brand, so they begin to identify with it.

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