1/4/2012 10:50 AM ET|
Net-savvy customers steal the deals
Those who shop online are a significantly different breed from traditional shoppers, a survey finds, and their use of technology includes mobile devices they take to the store.
The shopper of the future has arrived.
Armed with a cellphone, an Internet connection and online coupons, a new class of shopper has emerged that is a political and economic breed apart from traditional shoppers. The CNBC All-America Economic Survey identified what we call "net-savvy" shoppers, constituting about 39% of the population.
We defined Net-savvy shoppers as those who said they had planned to do either most or all their shopping online. In fact, about 70% of these consumers say the Internet is their No. 1 way to shop year-round, and an equal percentage say it's their top way to make holiday purchases.
Compare that with the 44% of the public whom we call "traditionalists," who don't seem to do much clicking at all for their gifts around holiday season, or anytime of the year for that matter.
But the differences between the Net-savvy shopper and the traditionalists go beyond just the Internet. When Net-savvy shoppers leave the house to make a purchase, they don't leave technology far behind. The survey found that 41% use mobile devices in stores to look for better prices, compared with 24% of the general public and just 10% for traditional buyers.
"This group of Net shoppers really are showing us the wave of the future," said Jay Campbell, a vice president of Hart Research Associates, which conducted the CNBC survey along with Bill McInturff. "As generations that are computer savvy get older, it seems likely that they will continue their online shopping habits, and the youngest generations will do more and more shopping with their smartphones. Brick-and-mortar stores will have to step up their game to get people in the door."
The survey found that 27% of Americans had planned to do most or all of their holiday shopping online, up 2 percentage points from the previous year and the highest mark for the choice in the five-year history of the survey.
It is now the second most popular way to shop, taking away the No. 2 spot from department stores, like Macy's or Sears, which was chosen by 19% of the public, a decline from 25% a year ago. Big-box stores like Wal-Mart or Best Buy remain the top choice destination, but their share dropped to 42% from 48% a year ago.
Who are these Net-savvy consumers? They tend to be wealthier, male and younger. About half of shoppers 18 to 49 years old are Net savvy, versus just 16% of those aged 65 or older. And while almost two-thirds of Net-savvy shoppers have money in the stock market, only 38% of traditionalists are invested. Net-savvy shoppers said they'd planned to spend, on average, $859 on gifts this past holiday season. That's 34% more than the $640 that traditionalists planned to dish out.
But they also don't mind a deal, and they use the latest technology to find one. The CNBC survey found that 16% of Net-savvy shoppers use online coupon services such as Groupon or Living Social, compared with 9% of the public overall and just 5% of traditional shoppers.
Slightly more than a quarter of Net-savvy shoppers have bought something other than music, apps and e-books using their phone or mobile device. Only 8% of traditionalists have done the same, and 16% of the general public.
And mobile devices such as those sold by Apple are high on the list of gifts Net-savvy shoppers like to give. One out of five planned to give an Apple product as a gift -- that's twice as many compared with traditionalists.
It's unclear if the use of technology has anything to do with it, but Net-savvy shoppers are less pessimistic. While 28% of traditional shoppers believe the economy will get worse over the next year, just 18% of Net-savvy shoppers are downbeat on the outlook. Slightly more than one-quarter of both groups expect the economy to improve.
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+ by shopping online you help prevent developer induced urban sprawl...A side bonus
I am waiting for the real deal online car dealership to emerge...It will offer vehicles at unbelievable prices because Joe consumer is not paying for a 100 acre mega lot & free popcorn, just the car he wants at a fair price.
I am always in awe of folks who continue the trend of shopping Brick and Mortar, I guess for me it's easy I've been online shopping for years now and unless its a got to have NOW, I can easily wait the couple days typical for shipping. Choose your e-tailers carefully, determine if you want to pay shipping (Typically I pass if shipping is not included), compare prices vs. other e-tailers vs. even a Sam's/Costco etc. I find the best method to online shop is a decent PC and 2(TWO) monitors you can be shopping Amazon and comparing prices elsewhere at the same time.
The only items I consider buying at the local retailer and by that I mean Costco/Sam's/****'s etc, are large screen TV's and items that can be a PIA to return, many online shops offer decent return policies and if they don't it sure is easy to find it elsewhere, lol. Course most of the boutique items can be somewhat more difficult to buy online and in many cases dollar wise buying at your local shop won't cost much more.
The ones who dont click at all pay a whole lot more for the same items. For example I'm going to use an exhaust shop. The muffler rusted out on my 15 year old car. The shop priced an OEM original equipment muffler & 2" tailpipe at $440 installed. I went on jegs.com & got a universal fit performance muffler for $60 with shipping & went & got $8 worth of pipe & clamps from pep boys. I put it on myself & took it back to the same shop & had them weld it for me using my factory hangers all ready on the car. They charged me an inflated price of $60 to weld it but in all I paid $128 at the same shop using a better flowing better quality muffler & the shop was stunned that I was able to cut & fit the muffler the same what they would have. In all I saved 70% by using my own parts & doing most of the work myself.
Also the same shop quoted an elderly woman $762 for an OEM cat converter replacement. I guess she paid $762 minus 30% senior discount instead of installing her own universal fit conveter from jegs for $89 & $10 worh of pipe. Hell for that price shou could have got new oxygen sensors too & had hundreds left over if she "knew people".
Before you buy online think about what you are doing to your local economy. When you buy local then that money helps your community. Buy online and your local government gets nothing. Not to mention you might be helping to put your neighbor out of work.
If the online trend continues then guess what? Your city and county government will be raising property tax, local sales tax and who knows what else.
Moe in NH
I can see from your post why you would be in awe of them. They are way cooler than you. lol
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Which store penalizes you for too many returns? And which one will let you retroactively apply coupons?