How many times have you headed out to a brick-and-mortar retailer to do your shopping in recent years? If you’re like most of us, the number has probably decreased drastically. In a worldwide survey done in 2018, at least 70 percent of respondents had participated in some form of online shopping.
This survey was carried out by Periscope by McKinsey and interviewed over 2500 consumers around the world on their shopping habits. This research showed that a market once dominated by physical retailers is now quickly moving to the digital world.
Periscope by McKinsey’s survey interviewed a number of tech-savvy nations and found that French and UK consumers are at the forefront of multichannel shopping, with 40 percent and 39 percent of shoppers having the greatest balance of preferences respectively. German consumers followed with 33 percent and Americans were at 32 percent.
Through the responses they received, it was clear that consumers preferred buying non-perishable goods or products that had a long shelf life. For example, canned goods greatly surpassed products such as milk and meat in popularity. This makes sense, as shipping times are taken into account.
In the above-mentioned European countries, beauty and hygiene products were the most popular online goods purchased by consumers. This could indicate that physical retailers that sell mostly perishable goods may be here to stay until their online competitors can gain their customer’s trust when it comes to shipping these goods before they expire.
Of course, it’s safe to assume that younger generations are spending more of their money online than generations who are used to shopping at physical retailers. This is evident in the Periscope by McKinsey report, which found that younger audiences were the largest group in almost every country to do their shopping in the digital world.
Surprisingly, there were certain outliers to this observation which could be owed to the fact that different age groups buy different products online. For example, in Germany and France, respondents aged 40-49 spent more time shopping online than those aged 30-39.
What This Means for Retailers
The contrast in age demographics and product popularity shows that online retailers need to develop strong omnichannel strategies in order to capture as large of a target market as possible. This is likely what giants such as Amazon can owe their success to, as they tend to sell as large of a variety of products as possible.
Of course, not every business can take this approach. Companies who sell to a niche market can’t suddenly stock everything under the sun. However, they can likely see greater success by selling as wide of a variety of products within that niche as possible.
For example, this vape store offers everything you’d need when it comes to vaping, as opposed to only some of the products. This way, they increase the likelihood of their customers getting everything from them as opposed to shopping around for each product.
So, is the future of shopping entirely online? With the way things are going now, it’s a safe assumption to make. As for how it will affect businesses and consumers, only time will tell.