Not-so-hot news for e-commerce companies: The Internet is currently a better
driver of off-line shopping than online, says a new industry study from Harris Interactive.
In what the company called the largest online study of business-to-consumer
purchasing trends conducted to date, the benchmark ecommercePulse survey found that
Internet shoppers are spending far more money off-line when they browse for
specific products online.
The quarterly study of more than 103,000 online respondents found that
“online shoppers” — defined as individuals who used the Internet to gather
information on specific products in the past month — still were spending
four to nine times as much off-line as online on the product for which they
used the Internet to shop.
For example, for every dollar spent online, toy shoppers spent $9.01
off-line; apparel shoppers $4.41 and computer hardware shoppers $2.69. Only
book shoppers spend more online, averaging only 68 cents off-line for every
dollar spent online.
“This. . .survey dramatically demonstrates that the Internet is still used more
for shopping than buying. As a result, to fully understand e-commerce you
must track the online marketplace’s direct impact on off-line purchasing
behavior,” said Gordon S. Black, CEO of Harris Interactive. “ecommercePulse
goes beyond counting eyeballs to separating buyers from browsers — the only
true way of measuring ROI and e-commerce on the Internet.”
ecommercePulse rated the satisfaction of Web shoppers who seriously
considered buying products from more than 180 e-retail sites. iQVC was the
leader in four of 11 categories covered: clothing, electronics, health/beauty
and toys. Other winners were eBay (Auctions); Amazon and Books-a-Million
(Books – tie); Apple and Dell (Computer Hardware – tie); ZD Net, Parsons and
Maczone (Computer Software – tie); DVD Express, Amazon and CDNOW (Music/Video
– tie); TravelZoo (General Travel); Airtran, Southwest and Continental
(Airline Travel – tie); and Mothernature.com tied with iQVC (Health/Beauty).
“While bells and whistles may entertain 27-year-old MBA equity analysts,
online consumers seem to love an iQVC that consistently meets and surpasses
their expectations,” said Ben Black, Harris Interactive director of business
“ecommercePulse demonstrates once again that consumers will determine the
winners in the Internet Revolution, not technology. It’s not the
well-engineered sites with stunning content, nor is it the VC-touted new
business models that receives high praise from the consumer, it’s the sites
that add value to the consumers’ experience.”
Designed as an annual subscription service for Web marketers and retailers,
financial analysts and advertisers, media and financial analysts, Harris Interactive will update ecommercePulse quarterly. Pricing
starts at $5,500 for the first wave of the survey.