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How online shoppers shop – from country to country

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How do online shoppers shop? It’s a question that every online retailer wants to understand, and Rakuten, the world’s third-largest, has been collecting data and has released some insights into how local differences shape the online shopping habits of consumers across the globe.

A key finding from Rakuten’s data is how online retail therapy is a common antidote to the “back-to-work blues,” with the US, UK and Germany all clocking their highest browsing figures on Mondays. In France, where young schoolgoers only attend classes four days a week, data shows that online shopping peaks on Wednesdays, when parents often stay home to look after their children. In Brazil, where domestic broadband penetration is relatively low, online shoppers are most likely to splash the cash online when they are at work, according to Rakuten Brazil. However, far from shirking work responsibilities in order to make purchases, they typically use a lunch break to shop, with activity peaking between midday and 2pm.

In both the US and UK, peak time for mobile browsing occurs in the morning, although earlier in the UK. Perhaps reflecting the greater usage of public transport in the UK, which affords greater opportunity for browsing, mobile browsing surges between 7am and 8am, when many workers are mid-commute. In the US, the morning peak in browsing occurs at around 10am. Conversely, in France shoppers are most likely to use a mobile device between to shop between 6pm and 7pm.

During their online and mobile shopping experiences, consumers spend more time browsing categories that tend to have a higher pricetag.

In the US, consumers are far more considered when selecting computers, electronics, clothing and bags, where an average of 4.4 to 4.7 minutes is spent viewing before purchasing. This compares with around 3 minutes for lower priced items. Browser dwell times indicate that fashion and literature are Brits’ online impulse purchase items of choice, with the average user dwelling just over 40 seconds on clothes before purchase and under a minute on books, compared with considered purchases such as TVs, which have an average dwell time of around 2 minutes. One interesting anomaly is evident in Brazil, where relatively high-value mobile phones typically see very low dwell times, suggesting consumers have already researched products online and then will make a purchase based solely on price.

Mark Kirschner, executive officer for global marketing at Rakuten, said: “Ecommerce is a truly global phenomenon and insights from across our network highlight the importance of understanding local differences and how they should shape the approach online merchants take. Rakuten is an exponent of combining a global outlook with the local touch, and by taking this approach retailers can rapidly target and service new markets.”

Adam Stewart, marketing director for Rakuten’s, said: “These findings demonstrate how ecommerce has become a part of our everyday lives, making retail more pervasive than it has ever been. Thanks to mobile devices, consumers in the UK are now able to make purchases during their commute, while in France parents can now order groceries online while looking after the children, without having to drag them to the supermarket. Consumers still make considered choices, taking longer to decide on more expensive items, but in certain cases, savvy shoppers are clearly doing their research before purchasing, harnessing the power of the internet and social networks to make informed choices.”

Shopping trends data was taken from Rakuten’s (UK), (US), Rakuten Deutschland (Germany), Priceminister (France) and Rakuten Brazil subsidiaries. Through partnerships and acquisitions, Rakuten also operates in Indonesia, Russia, Spain and Canada, as well as in Japan.


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