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Online spending dominated by small group of multi-device wielding ‘super-shoppers’ global study shows

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A global survey of 20,000 consumers finds that international buying power in the Internet age is highly concentrated within a small group of high-spending, high-frequency ‘Super-Shoppers’, who use all devices at their disposal to spend, spend, spend.

Despite representing only 8% of the general population, these Super-Shoppers accounted for 92% of all spending on physical goods bought via the Internet every month. Over the 12 months to 2016, Super-Shoppers spent an astounding £258.7 billion on everything from clothes to leisure good and electronics, compared to just £160.7 billion among the remaining 87% of the population.

The Worldpay research, which polled 2,000 consumers in 10 countries, revealed that Super-Shoppers aren’t just concentrated in the developed and mature eCommerce markets either. Brazil led the pack for Internet shopaholics, with 25% of its population of Internet users falling into the Super-Shopper category, followed by the US (18%) and Mexico (15%).

Nowhere, however, was the buying power of the Super-Shopper higher than in China, where despite accounting for just 5% of the general population, this small group of consumers was responsible for an incredible 87% of the country’s estimated online shopping revenues.

The buying power of this group of Super-Shoppers – of which 34% are millennials -is explained by the frequency and value of their shopping habits. Nor are they buying little and often. Almost a quarter (24.4%) of Super-Shoppers spent between £100 & £150 the last time they shopped online, and 13% of them spent over £200.

Commenting on the findings and the Super-Shopper phenomenon Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at IPSOS says: “This study is the latest evidence to confirm the emergence of the so-called on-line ‘Super-Shopper’. This elite shopping set not only exists in the emerging economies, as well as the developed world, but thrives there, thanks to the expansion of an affluent middle class, the relentless march of consumerism and consumer technology, together with the progressive trend to urbanisation.

“They are equipped to shop from whichever device is most convenient to them at the time – whether it be PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone. By default they are super-connected. And by shopping on-line they are, of course, unconstrained by time, able to satisfy their cravings for instant gratification any time of day or night. ‘Super-Shoppers’ are not synonymous with the super-rich, however. They are passionate about what they buy and sophisticated in how they shop, taking the time and trouble to research the best products and find the most competitive prices available, relishing the process as well as the output. ”

Worldpay’s research into the shopping preferences of Super-Shoppers also discovered that this group’s behaviour between countries was remarkably consistent.

Globally, 52% of Super-Shoppers preferred to use their credit card to pay for their shopping, which was 10% more than the all-shopper global average of 42%. They overwhelmingly preferred credit cards, even in markets where credit card use is low. For example 70.5% of German Super-Shoppers used a credit card the last time they shopped online, compared to the national average of 36%. Chinese Super-Shoppers were also much more likely to choose to pay using their credit cards than the average consumer in China.

The research also showed a potential downside of the Super-Shopper phenomenon to online retailers in terms of lost revenue. 38% reported that they had reached the checkout stage for an item and found they couldn’t use their preferred payment method to buy. In scenarios like this, 52% of Super-Shoppers said they bought the same item from a different website, and a remarkable 17% said they went out to buy from a physical shop. Worldpay estimated that the cost to each retailer of a lost transaction could be as much as £100, representing a significant amount of lost revenue from such frequent and high value shoppers.

Maria Prados, VP Global Retail at Worldpay explains: “The remarkably consistent buying behaviour of these Super-Shoppers across markets is a very interesting phenomenon for online retailers. It suggests that retailers should be looking at these consumers as a distinct group that often behaves very differently from the rest of their customers. For example, their high use of credit cards in markets where these cards have little or no traction among the general population means that a retailer who doesn’t support the full range of payment methods could actually be losing major revenue without noticing.

“Elsewhere the Super-Shopper phenomenon gives retailers much food for thought – in terms of how they merchandise to these consumers to maximize basket size, or market to an audience who thinks of online shopping as a daily task, not just as an occasional treat. With so much buying power concentrated in this group globally, it’s essential that retailers innovate in such a way that they deliver what Super-Shoppers want, when they want it and let them pay for it in the way that suits them best.”

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