Books, Clothes and Music are Popular Items to Purchase Online Worldwide, While the Japanese and Chinese Also Shop on the Web for Their Daily Meals, According to New SSI Research

New Global Study Reveals Both Key Commonalities and Sharp Differences in Online Shopping Preferences, Attitudes and Behaviors around the World

20 May, 2010, 11:00 ET from Survey Sampling International

SHELTON, Conn., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Around the world, books, clothes and music are popular items to buy on the Web, according to a new global online shopping study conducted by Survey Sampling International (SSI) among 20 – 39 year olds in the US, Brazil, China, Japan and the Netherlands. The majority of respondents in China (70%) and Japan (60%) purchase books on the Internet, while almost half of participants in Brazil and the Netherlands do their book shopping online.  In the US, books are also a common online purchase — second only to music — with 42% of survey participants reporting they buy books on the Web.

"The predominance of books as an online purchase worldwide is reflected in the sites respondents report using most in each country," says Rene Bos, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific for SSI. "Amazon.com is among the top-three shopping sites in three of the five countries studied — Japan, China and the US, where it easily takes the #1 spot.  In addition, bol.com — an online store for books, CDs and DVDs, similar to Amazon — is the clear leader in the Netherlands."

While books are popular with Internet shoppers, clothes are also a major online category.  In fact, in China, clothes are the most common Web purchase.  Three-quarters of Chinese respondents say that they purchase their outfits online — more than in any other country studied.  In the Netherlands, just under half of participants report buying outfits on the Internet — tying with books as the most common item people buy online.  Clothing is also a dominant online category in Japan — second only to books — with 45% of respondents shopping for apparel on the Web.  In addition, clothing is a top-three online purchase in the US.

Music is also an important online category.  It ranks #1 in the US (44%), #2 in the Netherlands (36%) and #4 in Japan (38%).  It is less dominant in China and Brazil, though about a quarter of respondents in both countries buy music online.

In spite of the many commonalities in shopping preferences among countries, there also are some key differences.  For example, in China and Japan, almost 40% of respondents buy food for their daily meals online.  This is in sharp contrast to the US (13%), Brazil (7%) and the Netherlands (4%), where relatively few people shop for daily meals online.

In addition, almost half of Chinese respondents and a third of Japanese respondents buy cosmetics online.  In the US and Brazil, only about a quarter of online shoppers buy cosmetics on the Web — and in the Netherlands, just 9% purchase makeup online.

Digital equipment is another category where there are marked geographic differences.  Close to half of online shoppers in China and Brazil purchase digital equipment on the Internet.  This is a far greater number than the US (38%), the Netherlands (30%) or Japan (26%).*

Shopper Satisfaction Varies Greatly by Region

US Internet shoppers are the happiest with their online experience.  Almost half (47%) say that they are strongly satisfied with their online shopping Web site, and 50% report being satisfied.  Chinese online shoppers are at the opposite end of the spectrum, with just 15% indicating that they are strongly satisfied.  Japanese online shoppers also have lower satisfaction levels, with just 18% reporting that they are strongly satisfied.  Both Brazil and the Netherlands have about a third of online shoppers claiming to be strongly satisfied with their Internet experience.

"When we delve into the reasons behind satisfaction levels, we uncover some interesting variations," says Bos.  "For example, in China and the Netherlands, the availability of various choices is the key reason for satisfaction, while, in Japan, the time factor — being able to buy online any time because consumers have no time to get to the store — is the #1 satisfaction driver.  In the US, having easy access to products from remote locations that are not available in local stores is the primary reason for high satisfaction.

"Cheaper prices are one satisfaction driver that most counties have in common.  Cheaper pricing is the top satisfaction factor in Brazil.  In addition, it is the second most important satisfaction driver in China, the US and Japan.  In the Netherlands, pricing is less important, falling behind choice, time, availability of foreign products and home delivery options."

Although there are many different reasons for satisfaction among online shoppers around the world, consumers in almost all countries share the same reasons for dissatisfaction.  Not liking to buy things without seeing them, having to wait too long for delivery and not enough selection are common reasons for dissatisfaction in most countries.  In the US, a large portion of online shoppers also worry about the security of credit card payments.

*Respondents could select multiple items they purchase online.

About Survey Sampling International

Survey Sampling International (www.surveysampling.com) is the premier global provider of sampling solutions for survey research. SSI reaches respondents in 72 countries via Internet, telephone and mobile/wireless.  Client services include questionnaire design consultation, programming and hosting, and data processing.  SSI serves more than 1,800 clients, including 48 of the top 50 research organizations. Founded in 1977, SSI has 17 offices in 15 countries.

SOURCE Survey Sampling International



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