The easy growth for online shopping appears to be over, according to new research findings published by Boston Consulting Group.
BCG just completed surveying ~3,300 Americans aged 15 to 85 about their online shopping habits across 41 merchandise categories. In every category, a clear majority of respondents report that they don’t plan to increase their online spending in the next three years.
Depending on the category, the percentage of people who do not plan to increase their online spending ranges from 78% to 92%.
And in some disparate categories ranging from food and beverages to packaged goods, fine jewelry, news media and automobiles, more than a quarter of the people already shopping online said that they actually plan to decrease their online spend over the upcoming three years.
Perhaps even more surprising, the BCG survey results show similar findings regardless of generational groups — Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials alike.
BCG has conducted other studies on this topic in the past, but reportedly this is the first time such low “future intention” figures have been collected, and it suggests that future e-commerce growth will be a good deal more challenging for many companies who offer their products and services for online purchase.
Here’s a quote from Michael Silverstein, a BCG senior partner and specialist in consumer shopping behaviors, speaking about the new research findings:
“Consumers are notoriously unable to predict their spending patterns. However, the findings from this research certainly pour cold water on everyone’s expectations for a continuously rising e-commerce world. E-commerce winners will have to earn new dollars and new spending by providing new value. That means me-too players will suffer — and leaders will need to provide more user-friendly websites, lower prices, and offers tailored to individual customers.”
There remain a few categories where people are planning to spend more online in the coming years. However, they don’t represent physical products. Instead, those categories are airline tickets, hotel reservations, and entertainment ticket reservations.
Still, it’s interesting to see online commerce now entering its “mature” phase. Those rapid, double-digit growth rates couldn’t go on forever — and indeed, they now look to be a thing of the past.