KEY POINTS

  • E-commerce shopping and buying has gone mainstream — almost three-quarters of the US population now shops online — but the typical online shopper still looks somewhat different than the average US consumer. There are variations by gender, age, education, and income between those likeliest to buy online and on mobile and those likeliest to buy in-store; shopping behavior also differs across digital channels.
  • Women control the bulk of household spending; however, men are fairly active shoppers online. Women accounted for 57% of online shoppers in the US last year and men for 43%, according to Experian data shared with BI Intelligence. 
  • Women have taken to mobile commerce fast. Of US consumers who say they completed a purchase on a mobile device in the last month, 66.5% were women and 33.5% were men. That's a reversal from 2013, when a greater share of men than women completed purchases on mobile. 
  • And how men and women use their mobile devices for shopping also varies. Women are more likely than men to look up store locations on mobile and access coupons. Men are interested in using their devices to get better deals. 
  • Teens are not the most active online shoppers, despite their proclivity for other digital activities. Shopping is still a social activity for many teens, especially teen girls. More than 60% of teens say they prefer to shop from online retailers that also have their own stores. Only 40% of teens say they prefer online-only e-commerce brands. 
  • Millennials, those aged 18 to 34, remain the key age demographic for online commerce, especially mobile commerce. Millennials account for 47% of purchase volume on a smartphone or tablet, way more than their share of the population. 
  • Millennial-aged parents have developed into a sub-demographic of their own. They're particularly attached to shopping on mobile. Millennial dads are most likely to use their phones in stores to check product reviews and compare prices, whereas millennial moms look to their devices to search for new coupons or access saved coupons.
  • Gen Xers and younger baby boomers also over-index for e-commerce activity, likely because they are both comfortable with digital channels and have significant disposable income. This demographic could help move more grocery sales online.
  • Online shoppers tend to live in households with higher-than-typical incomes and higher-than-average educations. Putting together a composite based on various demographic trends, the [...]