Online Shoppers

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International Business & Economics Research Journal

Volume 3, Number 4

Activities, Interests, And Opinions Of Online Shoppers And Non-Shoppers William R. Swinyard, (E-mail: swinyard@byu.edu), Brigham Young University Scott M. Smith, (E-mail: smsmith@byu.edu), Brigham Young University

Abstract Internet shopping represents the launch of a new industry with corresponding levels of praise and concern. It is both the “golden child” for innovative net users, and the “evil empire” for anxious brick-and-mortar retailers. Online purchasing is growing at a dramatic rate yet the expectation for an explosion of Internet shopping has not occurred; its market share is small, at just under two percent of total U.S. retail spending. This study has been designed to explore why online shopping is growing so fast among some households, and so slowly among others. It focuses on characterizing the fundamental motivators or satisfiers of e-retail shopping, along with its dis-satisfiers and de-motivators. And it examines lifestyles of both Web shoppers and non-shoppers to find that these are not homogeneous groups at all, but discrete market segments, each seeking distinctive benefits from the Internet. It examines the lifestyle characteristics of online households. By means of a U.S. national probability sample of online heads-of-households, this descriptive research provides a lifestyle perspective of who is using the Internet to shop, who does not shop, and why. It is hypothesized and shown that, compared with online non-shoppers, online shoppers are younger, wealthier, have higher computer literacy, spend more time on their computer, spend more time on the Internet, and find online shopping to be easier and more entertaining. It is further reported that shoppers and non-shoppers are involved in different online activities, and have different attitudes and opinions toward the Internet and online use. Each group is profiled and marketing implications are discussed.

1. Introduction

O

nline shopping is continuing to undergo significant growth worldwide. Responsible for the growth is the growing number of users shopping online for the first time and the increasing confidence in online properties. Yet the expectation of an explosion of Internet shopping has not occurred. The market share of online shopping is still small, at well under two percent of total retail spending (Spiwak, 2003). Most consumers have been slow to adopt it, yet few would dispute that it has a dramatic future. However – aside from a few rudimentary demographics – little is known about the characteristics, motivators, and profile of online shoppers. This study has been designed to help fill this gap by examining some key differences between online shoppers and online non-shoppers. The study addresses the question of how online shoppers and non-shoppers are alike and how they are different – as indicated by their demographic, computer and Internet use, computer literacy, and online activities, online interests and online opinions.

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International Business & Economics Research Journal 2. Background 2.1. Literature

Volume 3, Number 4

It would be unusual not to have expectations about online shopping. For example, that online shoppers are more computer literate than non-shoppers; or that online non-shoppers have higher fears of credit card theft than shoppers, etc. A literature search of online shopper studies required identification of papers providing some depth of demographic, attitudinal, or lifestyle discussion of online shoppers or online non-shoppers. That search was conducted primarily through the CD-rom-based subscription service of WebSpirs. Although it was expected that dozens of papers would be identified as relevant to the topic of online shopper/non-shopper characteristics, a thorough review found only a handful. Results from these suggest that, compared with online non-shoppers, online shoppers…     have higher levels of education,...
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