In the latest GWI report, we’ve stepped back from social media to analyse the vast amount of research data that we have on e-Commerce behaviour across our 31 markets. Digging into the data revealed some very interesting finds. The foremost of these is that 90% of internet users around the world use the internet at some point in their purchase journey. In addition, 66% of global internet users are buying products online in some form or another.

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Other key finds include:

  • China is the largest and most active online retail market in the world. As the Social Engagement Benchmark (SEB) highlighted, social also plays a key role in Chinese e-commerce.
  • South Korea, UK, China, Germany and Japan make up the top 5 online markets for purchasing online via a PC.
  • On a global basis, there is a clear positive correlation between more affluent demographic groups and higher levels of online purchase behaviour. This is consistent across PC buying, mobile and post-purchase influence.

Segmenting Consumers by their e-Commerce Behaviour

To drill deeper into the data, we also created what we called the “e-Commerce Segmentation.” This is made up of four segments:

1) Rejecters: those that don’t research or buy online.

2) Offline Transactors: those who research online but buy offline.

3) PC Online Buyers: those who buy online but only via PC.

4) Multi-Platform Buyers: those who buy online via mobile or tablets.

While the proportion of internet universe falling into each segment varies by country, one aspect is clear at a global level. Multi-Platform buyers are the most influential people in terms of post-purchase opinion giving. This clearly illustrates the need to optimize the performance of the online shopping experience across all devices to ensure positive post-purchase influence.


Purchase Behaviours by Product Category

In addition to segmenting consumers by e-Commerce behaviour, we also looked at the data from a different angle. We wanted to understand how buying patterns differed across the range of product categories we cover in our survey. What we found was truly astonishing. The product categories where we measure online/offline purchase as well as online research essentially fell into four different buckets based on the role both online and offline play in the consumer purchase journey. The buckets breakdown as follows:

1) Online Transaction: Digital strategy focusing on demand acquisition and ecosystem building

2) Online Awareness: Digital strategy should be geared towards raising awareness and educating consumers.

3) Online Information: Digital strategy geared towards providing information online with the purchase funnel leading to offline purchase.

4) Complete Online Journey: Purchase journey is increasingly completely online – ATL should be used for driving awareness.

This is fascinating because of how different product categories cluster together within these buckets. The GWI analysis tool shows us how different product categories move between buckets over time. We found some things one might expect, such as the books and music categories falling into the Online Transaction bucket. On the other hand, we also found some surprises such as Laptop purchases falling into the Online Information bucket while desktop PC purchasers fell into the Complete Online Journey bucket.

Digital Must Play a Role for All Brands Moving Forward

Perhaps the most important insight of all from the e-Commerce Report is the fact that digital will play a role in how your consumers discover, research, and buy your products no matter what that product is or in which market it is sold. As indicated by the strategy buckets however, it is critical for brands and marketers to understand how consumers are using digital to engage in buying products. We sincerely hope that the e-Commerce Report gives everyone concerned a boost in that direction.

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