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May
19

Does online shopping appeal to all or is it just a young people thing? Influence of Consumer Demographics on Online Buying

Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos are names of some of the richest people on the earth. What is common between them is the fact that they have reaped benefits from the current phase of digitalization which has disrupted old modes of the economy. Along with the increasing rate of internet penetration, there has been a slew of sites selling online. Almost 650 million users have access to the internet in India, making India the second-largest country with access to the internet. E-commerce accounts for US$ 50 Billion net worth in India. With growing internet population and penetration of e-retailers like Amazon, Flipkart, etc into smaller towns and semi-urban areas, this number is expected to increase exponentially.

While there is no debate on the penetration of e-commerce into our daily lives, and brands trying to seduce customers of all demographics to give them a share of wallet and share of heart, an interesting question comes to mind. Does age or any other consumer demographics play a significant role in online buying behaviour and if at all, does the perception of online buying benefits vary with varying demographics?  An interesting study by Bhatt & Darzi published in FIIB Business Review on 660 online consumers revealed that age has an important role in forming perception towards online shopping. This has implications for online portals in building marketing capabilities and demand management strategies for different age groups. Consumers between the age of 21-30 years are found to use online portals more often than any other age group. This is mostly because of their ease with the internet and technology. Dig in to find more about the factors that attracts this young audience to prefer online purchasing and how marketers can take some pointers from these findings:

1.Convenience

Consumers look for ease in the shopping experience, including ease in payment. Customers are able to choose from a large variety of products at a click. The aim of providing an e-shopping experience should centre around saving time and money. The e-store should not only provide the customers with a wide range of products but also provide various modes of payment. A secure payment gateway and easy return policy encourage customers to pay online rather than go for Cash on Delivery.

2.Interactivity

Customers appreciate quick service from the e-tailer. This includes interaction between the customer and the customer support service offered by the e-commerce site. Ease of return is the foremost service which customers demand. Transparent product reviews enable customers to make a choice.

3.Enjoyment

Online shopping is fast becoming a leisure time activity. People tend to buy more items than they need or at times buy things they do not need because of the ease in purchasing online and the online shopping offers. The more time a customer spends on the e-store, the more likely are they to purchase. E-tailors tend to save on stocking and renting physical space and hence can offer deep discounts and other offers such as cashback which can act as motivation for the customers to buy from them repeatedly.

It’s safe to say that e-commerce has also now become a red ocean and the marketers need to cut the clutter, offer better user experience, and interactive look and feel to stay ahead in the game. Not just that, now that we know age plays an important factor in online shopping, it also makes sense to do targeted marketing and advertisement campaigns that appeal to these demographics. Have any thoughts on marketing differently to young consumers? Let us know in the comments.

About the research Suhail Ahmed Bhat & Mushtaq Ahmad Darzi.Bhat (2019). Exploring the Influence of Consumer Demographics on Online Purchase Benefits, FIIB Business Review, 8(4), 303-316. https://doi.org/10.1177/2319714519892109