U.S. consumers: More comfortable than ever making online purchases.

Online purchasingHave U.S. consumers finally gotten over their skittishness about making purchases over the Internet? A newly released study from Javelin Strategy & Research suggests that they have.

The 2010-2014 Online Retail Payments Forecast report draws its findings from data collected online in November 2009 from a randomly selected panel of nearly 3,300 U.S. consumers representing a representative cross-sample by age, gender and income levels.

Based on the Javelin sample, nearly two-thirds of American consumers are now either “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with shopping online.

On the other end of the scale, ~22% of U.S. consumers continue to be wary of online purchasing; these people haven’t made an online purchase within the past year … or in some cases, never.

These figures suggest that the consumer comfort level with making online purchases is as high as it’s ever been. And how are consumers making their online payments? The Javelin study reports that among those respondents reporting online activities, the five most popular payment methods are:

 Major credit card: 70%
 Major debit card: 55%
 Online payment service such as PayPal®: 51%
 Gift card (good at one specific merchant): 41%
 Store-branded credit card (good at one specific merchant): 27%

Even with more than half of consumers using a debit card for online purchases, the total dollar volume of online sales attributable to debit cards is less than 30%. Javelin forecasts debit card share to continue climbing in the short-term, however, due to tighter consumer credit standards now in force.

Bottom line, the Javelin report suggests that despite the periodic horror stories that have been published about credit card information and other financial data being captured or mined off the Internet, the convenience and price/selection benefits of online shopping are winning the day with consumers. Not surprising at all, really.

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