EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 206 - January 06, 2008 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

AuctionBytes Report on Online Buying Survey, Part 2

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This is part two of AuctionBytes' report on online buying based on the survey conducted December 2007. See Part 1 at:

Non-Sellers versus Sellers
We were curious if respondents who don't currently sell online had different responses than those who do sell online, but for the most part, the answers tracked pretty closely. The differences that jumped out at us had to do with spending trends; types of sites frequented; important factors when deciding where to shop online; and level of satisfaction with their online buying experience.

Respondents who don't sell Respondents who do sell
Was the percentage of shopping you did online this year larger, smaller or the same percentage as last year? Larger: 52%


Same: 35%

Larger: 45%

Smaller: 21%

Same: 35%

Did you spend more money shopping online during the 2007 holiday shopping season than you did last year? Yes: 56%

No: 27%

Same amount: 17%

Yes: 38%

No: 44%

Same amount: 18%

Did you spend more money shopping during the 2007 holiday season in total (offline and/or online) than you did last year? Yes: 41%

No: 34%

Same amount: 25%

Yes: 29%

No: 48%

Same amount: 23%

Types of sites purchased from this holiday shopping season Respondents who don't sell Respondents who do sell
Major retail sites (,, 56% 49%
Amazon 55% 55%
Online auction site (eBay, etc.) 45% 65%
"Mom and pop" site 29% 29%
Online marketplace (Etsy, eCrater) 5% 11%
Antique Mall site (GoAntique, Tias etc.) 4% 2%
Classified site 2% 3%
Other 25% 15%

Respondents who don't sell
- top 4 answers
Respondents who do sell
- top 4 answers
Of the following factors, which one is the most important to you when deciding where to shop online? Security (25%)
Product selection (21%)
Well known branded site (13%)
Price (12%)
Product selection (20%)
Price (18%)
Security (15%)
Well known branded site (10%)

Respondents who don't sell Respondents who do sell
Please rate your level of satisfaction with your overall online buying experience this year. Very satisfied: 54%
Satisfied: 44%
Indifferent: 2%
Dissatisfied: 1%
Very dissatisfied: 0
Very satisfied: 62%
Satisfied: 35%
Indifferent: 2%
Dissatisfied: 1%
Very dissatisfied: 0

Price was not cited as the biggest advantage to shopping online - rather, it was the ability to shop at their convenience. However, as you would expect, price was an important factor in deciding where to shop online, as was reasonable shipping costs.

One of the most interesting results was learning which methods respondents most frequently used to find items: search engines and going directly to a retail website ranked highly. This presents a challenge for smaller merchants in that consumers are unlikely to know how to go directly to their websites. Getting exposure on search engines would seem critical, whether by natural search (having products and website show up in search results), or by paid ads and sponsored links. A whopping 90 percent of respondents used Google to help them find products this holiday shopping season, with Yahoo coming in second place at 22%, and comparison shopping sites lagging behind.

When a shopper finds a site for the first time, payment methods that offer protection is important in helping respondents feel more confident in making a purchase. Objective ratings and third-party feedback systems rated higher than customer testimonials in giving respondents confidence about unknown sites.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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