The E-Commerce Ecosystem: Who Is the Online Shopper?

Last month, we launched our latest report, The E-Commerce Ecosystem: The State of Cross-Device Digital Shopping, showcasing Verto Analytics’ latest research on consumer behavior and how it relates to the path to purchase. We’ll be sharing excerpts of the report on our blog, or you can download the full report here.

Who is the Online Shopper?

As we already discovered, online shopping is a near-ubiquitous activity; more than 96% of all American adults (ages 18 and above) used an e-commerce platform on a monthly basis. But what else can we learn about consumers who shop online, and how can we segment them into different audiences based on their behaviors and demographics?

The Three Most Common Categories of Online Shoppers

Based on Verto Analytics data about consumer behavior, we have divided online shoppers into three distinct categories based on the amount of time they spend per month on shopping online:

  • Heavy shoppers comprise the top 20% of all online shoppers, based on the amount of time they spend per month with online shopping brands
  • Medium shoppers are those who fall between the 40th and 80th percentile of all online shoppers, based on the amount of time they spend per month with online shopping brands
  • Light shoppers are those who comprise the bottom 40% of all online shoppers, based on the amount of time they spend per month with online shopping brands.

Applying these three shopper categories to specific demographic groups also reveals distinct consumer online shopping behaviors based on age and gender.

Millennials Are Light Shoppers

Less than a quarter (24%) of Millennials (those ages 18-34) can be classified as heavy shoppers, despite the fact they comprise 30% of the total online shopping population In fact, Millennials are most well represented among light shoppers: they comprise 36% of that shopper category. Meanwhile, the heavy shopper category is dominated by members of Generation X (ages 35-54) and Boomers (ages 55-74), who comprise 75% of all heavy shoppers Generation X shows an especially strong tendency toward online shopping; they comprise 34% of the total online shopping population, but 39% of all heavy shoppers.

Women Are Heavy Shoppers

Online shopping is particularly popular among women, who comprise 52% of all online shoppers This effect is further reflected among heavy shoppers (56% are women) and medium shoppers (58% are women), whereas men only gain majority (56%) among light shoppers.

Identifying the “Super Shopper”

Based on these criteria, we were able to identify the demographics and characteristics of the “super shopper” or a consumer who falls into the top 20th percentile of users based on time spent shopping online. She is a 47-year-old woman with a household income under $50,000 who spends 44 hours per month (nearly two whole days) shopping online, spending the majority of her time on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Craigslist.

Interested in learning more about our insights on e-commerce and online shopping behavior? Download the full report here, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates.