Business

Future of retail study: 30% of Americans would buy $1,000+ products online

ZERO chaisse
Image Credit: TouchOfModern

TouchofModern has a crazy, beautiful coffee table that I’d love to put in my home. Sadly, it’s about $2,500 — and the sleek Zero Chaise Lounge above is about $3,600 — and I don’t really want to drop three or four large on something I’ve only seen online.

Ten percent to 30 percent of Americans, however, disagree with me.

According to a new study on the future of retail conducted by WalkerSands, 10 percent of the thousand consumers surveyed said they’d spend over $1,000 online on products they’ve never seen in person, touched, handled, or — in my case — sat on. Another 16 percent would spend between $500 and $1,000 on unseen products, while the solid plurality, at 45 percent, said they’d spend between $100 and $500.

That 10 percent number, however, jumps to 30 percent when online retailers put the magic of free shipping and free returns on the table.

According to the study, fewer than 1 percent of consumers “never” shop online, and most of us shop online at least once a month. Almost 20 percent of us buy online one to two times a week, and some übershoppers — 5 percent of Americans — buy online three or more times a week. Interestingly, almost all of us, 95 percent, have bought at least one thing from Amazon.com.

Two categories, however, lag, and those are food and luxury goods.

Thirty-seven percent of consumers said they’d never buy food from Amazon — which might change as Amazon expands its grocery-buying and -delivery service — and 29 percent said they’d never buy luxury goods from the dominant online retailer.

Interestingly, it appears renting goods and services is likely to make a comeback in the coming era of increasingly digital buying. According to the study, 16 percent of us would rather rent books than buy them, with smaller percentages saying similar things for consumer electronics and household tools. Rental rates are expected to rise 123 percent in 2014 for sporting goods, and 129 percent for tools. Luxury goods rentals are also rising — up to 113 percent in 2014, according to WalkerSands.

I suppose you actually only need that Rolex or Bentley for one night.


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