E-commerce spending up: Study
E-commerce is growing but consumers still prefer a "human touch" when buying online. (Peter Kirillov/shutterstock.com)
According to a February report from eMarketer, e-commerce sales were worth over one trillion US dollars in 2012 and are expected to continue growing throughout 2013; however despite this booming market, a new study shows many people still crave a human touch when shopping online.
Market research group eMarketer estimates that global B2C e-commerce sales grew by 21.1 percent to top $1 trillion in 2012. Over this period B2C sales in North America grew by 13.9 percent to reach $364.66 billion, accounting for the majority of e-commerce sales.
However despite this thriving market, a survey by The Relevancy Group on behalf of e-commerce site Rakuten.com found that many US consumers prefer a human touch when it comes to online shopping.
According to The Relevancy Group's survey, the majority of online shoppers in the US would prefer to know who it is they are buying goods from and "how to get in touch". When asked if "the ability to connect with the seller would encourage you to spend more online," 74 percent of those surveyed agreed that it would, suggesting the importance of at least the possibility of human interaction when shopping online.
The survey also found that 38 percent of those surveyed would "prefer the online shopping experience if you connect directly with the seller and ask them questions." However despite the desire to be able to connect with and speak to the sellers while online, 42 percent of US consumers prefer to shop online than in a bricks-and-mortar store spending an average of $49.38 online per-month.
Outside of the US, online spending is expected to increase around the world throughout the year. Capgemini and the UK's Interactive Media in Retail Group predict that online spending in the United Kingdom will increase approximately 11.5 percent this year, to 87 billion pounds ($138.0 billion) throughout 2013, and The Relevancy Group predicts that by the end of 2013 the Asia-Pacific area will lead the world in terms of e-commerce spending.
The survey from The Relevancy Group conducted a survey of US online shopping attitudes and behaviors on behalf of Rakuten.com Shopping. The data is from January 2013. All 1,052 U.S. consumers surveyed were over the age of 13.