During the last year, the volume of online shopping has increased significantly, namely by 30% according to RAOS (the Romanian Association of Online Stores) due to the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Romanians’ preference for online shopping grows consistently.
A recent study conducted by MOCAPP and Cult Research on a sample of 508 daily Internet users reveals the manner in which we choose the most suitable products, and which are the main factors influencing our online shopping purchasing decisions.
“We wanted to see to what extent the increase in appetite for online shopping has concrete effects on online stores and consumer behaviour. Of course, other factors than income. The conclusions of the study show that we find ourselves in a moment of change, of profound evolution. Therefore, new standards are needed in online commerce for stores that want to become a relevant option”, says Florin Grozea, the founder and manager of the digital platform MOCAPP.
What has changed?
The number of online stores has increased, as has the volume of transactions, and, implicitly, consumer options. Consequently, customers are in need of more guidance in their acquisition process and appreciate the recommendations available online.
According to MOCAPP’s study, over 65% of online purchases made in the last 12 months in Romania were made after consulting the feedback provided by other consumers and influencers. Moreover, 57% of online shoppers say they never make an online purchase without consulting reviews.
“The direct experiences that other people have had with the products, stores or brands have an increased weight in the decision of choosing a product. Buyers are looking for information from other consumers – who are easy to access – and from their favorite influencers – whom they trust”, explains Paul Acatrini, the manager of Cult Research.
Who buys the most online?
84% of the study participants made at least 6 online purchases within the last year, while 40% of them shopped online more than once a month.
The top of customers with the highest frequency of purchases (over 15 shopping sessions per year) looks as follows:
- buyers with incomes between 4001 and 6000 lei per month (over 55% buy often);
- people with incomes between 2000 and 4000 lei per month (43% make frequent purchases);
- customers with incomes between 6001 and 8000 lei per month (36% buy frequently).
Regarding the budgets they allocated, most of the online shoppers (30%) spent a total of between 1000 and 2000 lei in 2020, followed closely (29%) by those who allocated between 2000 and 4500 lei, respectively 23% who spent over 4500 lei. Only 18% of those surveyed have allocated total budgets of less than 1000 lei in the last 12 months.
Areas of high interest for customers
The most relevant fields are technology (77%), followed by fashion (74%), and beauty products (56%). The fourth place represents a surprise- namely sporting goods and equipment (51%), which surpassed cooking, usually a top preference category.
The most searched products in the last 12 months:
- beauty products
- sporting goods and equipment
The only products for which consumers say they do not need to consult reviews are recurring online purchases (home supplies), respectively those with a low value (up to 200 lei).
Who are the customers most receptive to reviews?
The most receptive consumers to digital recommendations are part of generation Y (27-39 years old), respectively generation Z (16-26 years old), and those over 40 years old.
From the perspective of personal income, buyers who earn over 8000 RON are the most receptive. They have purchased most of their products in the last 12 months by consulting the reviews and comments of influencers or celebrities.
Only 8% of study participants state that they are not interested at all in the opinions of other customers (reviews, recommendations) when shopping online.
“First of all, reviews help customers when searching for information; afterwards, they contribute to confirming their choices. By consulting the reviews, buyers find arguments that make them feel more comfortable with their preferences and become more aware of the value they receive for the purchased products or services, regardless of their allocated budget”, mentions Paul Acatrini.
What does an efficient review look like
It has it has as clear a point of view as possible and it gives a score;
It includes comparisons with other similar products/services;
It includes information on the ease of use, the durability and the maintenance of the product;
It is posted on the online store’s website and/or of the manufacturer and it is also available through social media (Facebook, Youtube);
The recommendation has maximum effectiveness when it meets the above criteria, and the author is a credible influencer in their field.
Fans’ consumer behaviour in influencer communities
If one were to strictly analyze the influencer communities, on average 40% of their followers are receptive to product recommendations: first of all men from generation Z, with children and an income between 4001-6000 lei, followed by gen Y women with children and higher education. More than half of the women questioned say that their first thought after reading a product recommendation from their favorite influencer is to buy the product, while men tend to find the product via search engines and find out how much it costs.
“The MOCAPP study revealed that today’s consumer preferences are closely linked to the recommendations and opinions one finds online. Our issue is no longer related to the amount of information, as it were the case in the past – but the filtering of the huge amount of information, with the help of relevant opinion leaders, who come with advice, recommendations and their expertise. Reviews made by influencers have a higher weight in the purchasing decision than the recommendations of everyday consumers. However, the latter are more handy since they are next to the product on the online stores sites and do not require additional search. These findings offer an opportunity to update marketing strategies for all E-commerce companies. For an online store it is a vital decision: what reviews it collects, how it promotes them, how they stand out. And quick, because the competition is already doing it!”, says Florin Grozea.