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Consumers Spend 22% of Income Online

Study points to developing economies as a waiting opportunity for e-merchants.
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It’s 10 a.m. Do you know where your buyers are? If they’re in the U.S., they’re probably on the couch at home, about to make a purchase using a laptop.

A recent study of global online shopping habits finds the peak time for online shopping activity—at least in the States—is 10 a.m. Shoppers in the rest of the world apparently prefer to sleep in. The international online “spending peak” occurs at 8:40 p.m., with 74 percent of global online spending reportedly taking place between noon and midnight.

The Global Online Shopper Report, sponsored by WorldPay, surveyed 19,000 consumers across the Americas, the U.K., Europe and Asia who had shopped online within the previous six months. Among its findings: Consumers around the world spend an average of 22 percent of their disposable income online, and spend about five hours a month shopping online—often while watching TV.

The biggest takeaway for e-commerce merchants, however, is that a significiant opportunity awaits those willing to sell to buyers overseas—especially in developing online economies, where consumers tend to spend about a third of their cash online, according to WorldPay.

Roughly half of consumers in China and India spend more than 30 percent of their disposable income online

“E-commerce is growing at a rapid pace, with consumers in nearly all countries spending a growing percentage of their income online,” says Philip McGriskin, chief product officer of WorldPay. “The consumer appetite for buying cross-border is strong, particularly in the high-growth developing online economies. This provides merchants with an excellent opportunity to increase sales by targeting overseas customers.”

While mobile shopping is a fast-growing segment of e-commerce, 95 percent of global online purchases still take place from home on a laptop, with 54 percent of consumers saying they shop while in the living room, and 43 percent while in the bedroom. Less conventional shopping locations include the garden (5 percent), bathroom (3 percent) and garage/shed (2 percent).

Mobile e-commerce is most common among “heavy spenders”—consumers who spent more than 30 percent of their disposable income online in the past year—and these shoppers tend to be in developing economies, like China and India, where 48 percent and 54 percent of online shoppers, respectively, are considered heavy spenders. Globally, 36 percent of heavy spenders have used a smartphone to buy something online, and 55 percent have done so in the last three months. Comparatively, 19 percent of global consumers, overall, made a purchase using a smartphone, WorldPay notes.

The most popular online shopping sites, according to the report, are Amazon and eBay. Globally, 43 percent of consumers preferred Amazon, while 33 percent shopped on eBay. In the U.S., the numbers were higher: 83 percent bought on Amazon, and 45 percent on eBay.

About the author

Crista Souza
Crista Souza is founding editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. A journalism graduate of San Jose State University, she spent 13 years as a business and technology reporter in Silicon Valley. Crista has been writing about B2C and C2C ecommerce since 2008. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.