How Consumers' E-commerce Purchasing Habits are Evolving


As e-commerce platforms shift and evolve, one thing remains that same: beauty products are among the top-purchased products online. 

According to an e-commerce survey conducted by Dotcom Distribution, there has been a shift in online shoppers' priorities from previous years. The survey, which polled more than 1,400 online consumers, found that shoppers place a high value on gift-like packaging and fast delivery, among others. 

Key Findings 

  • Beauty products were the third-most purchased products online at 41%, behind clothing and apparel (77%) and consumer electronics or technology (52%).
  • Beauty products ranked No. 6 for products consumers preferred to purchase in-store versus online. 
  • Giveaways—magnets, coupons or stickers—were the third most influential amenity respondents reported would motivate them to recommend a brand to others.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers said they would be more likely than not to make future purchases with a brand that included a free giveaway.
  • 90% of respondents place a high value on free returns when making an online purchase.
  • 91% view free shipping as a factor influencing future purchases. 
  • 56% said free returns are “very important."
  • 62% would buy again from a brand that offers free returns and exchanges.
  • 67% would be likely to add items to online shopping cart to receive free shipping.
  • 44% of respondents doing a majority of their online shopping on Amazon. 
  • Respondents who tried same-day delivery rose 19% compared to 2017 (42% vs. 23%).
  • Only 25% of 2018 survey respondents were willing to pay extra for faster shipping.

Gen Z Consumers

  • 36% named same-day delivery as a top influence in future purchase decisions—higher than any other generation.
  • 87% are more likely to make online purchases if they can return in-store.
  • 75% are more likely to purchase from a retailer again if an online order came with a free giveaway.

Millennial Consumers

  • 76% would add items to online carts to qualify for free shipping.
  • 36% prefer buying online— both more than any other generation.
  • 79% are less likely to buy again from an e-tailer if delivery is delayed.
  • 60% are more likely to purchase from an e-tailer again if an online order came with a free giveaway.

Baby Boomers

  • Less than 1% expect one-day delivery—the lowest of any group.
  • 95% of purchase decisions are “somewhat” or “greatly” influenced by shipping costs—more than any other group.
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