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Low prices are key for online shoppers globally, marketplaces are key sites

Online shopping may be rewriting the rules of retail across all product categories at present but it’s online marketplaces that are in the driving seat.

That’s according to a new global study that shows “e-commerce marketplaces are setting the tone for global online shopping.”

The study, by omnichannel commerce tech specialist Radial, covers the biggest English-speaking markets (the US, UK, Canada and Australia), with over 4,000 consumers surveyed.

It found that most consumers who shop online hold a membership to an e-commerce marketplace such as Amazon or eBay. America leads the pack with nearly 20% more memberships than other English-speaking countries, at 72.6%.

Amazon is the top marketplace globally, although it lags behind eBay’s 63.8% score in Australia as it has only just officially launched there. Other marketplaces include Jet.com, Rakuten, Alibaba and Allegro but fall significantly short, controlling less than 15% of consumer memberships.

Radial also said that the consumers it surveyed are shopping online in particular to look for lower prices, especially in the highly developed UK online market where 56.1% spend less than the equivalent of $100 a month.

In the US, consumers are spreading their e-spend across both low-cost an higher-priced items with those who spend less than $100 and those who spend $100-$500 both level at a little over 42%.

But bargain-hunting is a focus globally with over 60% of all the 4,000 respondents saying that buying products at the lowest price possible is most important to them when shopping online.

And cost-consciousness extends to delivery. In the US, 60% expect free delivery with less than a quarter willing to spend up to $10 and 6.3% prepared to pay $10-$25.

And that determination to keep costs down also means consumers are willing to wait for their goods – at least up to a point. While speed of delivery matters, in the US, shoppers are more flexible with as many prepared to wait up to a week (just over 34%) as expecting delivery in two days or less.

That said, across all regions, fewer than 9% indicated delivery times “don’t matter” to them.

According to the study, the top categories for global consumer online spending include clothing and accessories (55.5%), electronics (43.2%), and health and beauty (28.7%), with grocery showing significant traction in the UK (31%).

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