Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores could be going out of vogue. A study by Pew Research shows that adults across America are reporting that they have transitioned to online shopping. Whether via smartphone, laptop or desktop computer, or tablet, more and more people are turning to the convenience of online shopping. With nearly unlimited purchasing options online, it's no wonder people are making the switch. Influencer-based marketing is a large part of why people have started shopping on online storefronts. Influencers will often provide discount codes for people to use when making a purchase online, which is a huge incentive for people to shop directly from their devices.
Mobile Shopping Is In
The biggest shopping season is upon us, and Pew Research has some insights. There are various ways to purchase gifts online, but smartphones have become the most popular method this year. 76% of adults in the United States report that they make online purchases via their cell phones, while 69% say they use a laptop or desktop computer. 28% make their purchases on a tablet.
Shopping online via cell phone is significantly more common in adults under 50. 91% of Americans ages 18-49 say they make online purchases on their phones, compared to 69% of adults 50-64 and 48% of adults ages 65 and older.
Age gaps are much smaller when it comes to shopping on a tablet. 30% of adults aged 30 and up use tablets to make online purchases compared to 26% of adults aged 18-29. The usage of a laptop or desktop computer for online shopping does not statistically differ between age groups.
Household income also has an impact on online shopping methods. Across all three of the devices, adults in the upper-income range are more likely than middle- or lower-class individuals to use each device for online purchases.
86% of adults in the higher income range report using a computer, compared to 74% of adults in the middle-income range and 51% in the lower income range.
Race and ethnicity play a role as well. 84% of Asian adults and 72% of white adults are more likely to report using a computer to do online shopping than 61% of black adults and 57% of Hispanic adults.
There are slightly less noticeable racial and ethnic differences in purchasing online via smartphone, and similar shares of each racial and ethnic group report using a tablet.
Although there are no statistical gender differences with regard to online shopping using a smartphone or tablet, 72% of men report using a computer to make their purchases compared to 66% of women.
How Often Smartphones Are Used to Shop
32% of Americans report using a smartphone to make online purchases on a weekly basis. 21% say the same for laptop or desktop computers, and 7% for tablets. Americans in their 30s and 40s stand out statistically regarding the frequency they use smartphones for shopping.
49% of adults ages 30-49 report making purchases weekly on their phones, compared to 38% ages 18-29, and statistically insignificant shares in those 50 and older. There are significantly fewer differences when shopping weekly via computer, and there are no age differences for making purchases on a tablet.
Americans in the upper-income range are more likely to use their phone, desktop, or laptop to make weekly purchases than middle- and lower-income individuals. There are no statistically significant differences across income levels when making purchases on a tablet.
Clinging to “Archaic” Ways
Even though it is more convenient only to have to press a button to order items online, many Americans still prefer to shop in-store. 57% of adults report that if given a choice, they would prefer to shop in store. 38% of adults said they prefer online shopping.
Most Americans across the major demographics report that they prefer in-person shopping versus online; however, there is a slight imbalance among the groups. For instance, adults under 50 are more likely than those ages 50 and older to report that they prefer shopping online.
The Power of Influencers
Social media has turned into a gold mine of opportunity for online retailers. With apps like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, brands can reach a much larger audience through targeted ads and influencer brand deals.
Influencers with large followings are the target advertisers for companies. Companies pay the influencers to either make posts or videos promoting their content. It is estimated that companies spend billions on influencer advertising.
40% of social media users follow influencers or content creators, 52% do not, and 8% are unsure. Age is seemingly a factor in whether or not someone followers influencers or content creators on social media. 72% of adults aged 18-29 say that they follow influencers, compared to 44% of adults aged 30-49, 26% of adults aged 50-64, and 12% of adults aged 65 or older.
There is not much of a gap between the two genders, but overall, female social media users under 50 are more likely to follow influencers and content creators than their male counterparts (60% vs. 47%).
There are also some differences in race and ethnicity. 59% of Hispanic social media users report following influencers or content creators, compared to 44% of black users and one-third of white users.
Income differences are less noticeable. 44% of lower-income social media users say they follow influencers or content creators, compared to 37% of higher-income users. Social media users that fall under the middle-class category do not statistically differ from the other two groups.
Content creators also have a significant influence over people's buying decisions. 30% of adult social media users say they have purchased something after seeing an influencer promoting it on their account.
36% of women report buying something after seeing an influencer promote it, versus 21% of men. 41% of adults under 30 reports doing this, compared to 33% of users aged 30-49 and 22% of users 50 or older.