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Online shoppers’ expectations are rising fast: study

Image: Shutterstock/Wayhome Studio

Shoppers’ expectations of online shopping are rising fast, with fast delivery and a wide range from a single retailer now among their must-haves, a new study suggests. Social commerce is winning customers away from marketplaces at the same time.

Digital consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce questioned 31,040 online shoppers from around the world via Censuswide and found that 70% want the levels of service they get from Amazon Prime from other brands as well. 

Shoppers say they are now buying more online than before, with an average of 57% of spending now online. Sixty per cent plan to buy more online in the future, including the 69% of those who work from home and say they have bought more online as a result, and the 62% who have discovered new brands after working from home. Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said they now expected delivery in two hours, including the 38% of online purchases that are digital. 


Almost half (48%) want faster delivery, and more than two-thirds (67%) say delivery has increased in importance, with 66% saying the time of delivery is now more important. Shoppers would like to see retailers invest in emerging technology such as cashless payments (58%),  and checkout-free stores (64%), such as Amazon Go. Six in 10 shoppers now plan to buy more 


At the same time, 68% want better environmental practices – and 61% like to shop with brands and retailers who have a sense of purpose that goes beyond making a sale. At the same time, 23% of online purchases around the world are returned, and 39% say they have over-ordered with the intention of returning unwanted goods. 

Social commerce 

Social media is benefiting from the shift online, with 56% wanting to stay on their social media platform in order to buy, while 65% have already bought through a social media platform. Almost two thirds (64%) of shoppers say they like the idea of buying everything through one retailer, while 36% already start their shopping journeys on marketplaces. However, marketplaces’ market share has fallen to 35% this year from 42% last year as shoppers start to buy through other digital channels such as social media, augmented and virtual reality. 

Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, says: “TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, marketplaces and eCommerce more generally offer shoppers an instant way to engage with, and purchase from, their favourite products and services. However, this means demands are higher, expectations are loftier, and consumers have a reduced patience; they want products and services at the click of a button and won’t settle for second-best. Couple this with the rising cost of living and retailers face a fight to get consumer’s cash as they choose where they shop, which brands to invest in and what digital services to use.

“With all the technology-driven change over the past two years, the basics of shopping remain the same – create unforgettable, reliable experiences that keep the consumers coming back for more. Margins are expected to get tighter and that means retailers and brands need to invest in digital platforms that satisfy shoppers. Long gone are the days of copying what Amazon, Walmart or the next best competitor is doing. Learn from expansive marketplaces or innovation technology providers, yes, but adopt your own ethos and take shoppers through a purchasing journey that sees them return for more.”

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