For women, online shopping isn’t just about browsing; it’s about putting money where their mouse is. A new poll conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center for ShopSmart magazine, the new shopping magazine from the publishers of Consumer Reports, finds that nearly all (96%) of American women who have shopped online in the past 12 months have purchased at least one product over the Web. Most online shoppers (57%) do both their product research and shopping online while a sizeable proportion do their research online and then go to a store to buy (31%).
“But, despite the fact that women seem to be so comfortable with online shopping, ShopSmart’s poll results show that there are still a lot of ‘gotchas’ out there,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “That’s why the new issue of ShopSmart includes must-read tips and advice to arm these time-starved women. This way they can shop smarter and safer online.”
The ShopSmart Online Shopping Poll finds:
Women Spend Time Shopping On The Internet, Among Online Shoppers…
— Women spend an average of 1.2 hours per week shopping online.
— More than half (52%) of the time devoted to shopping for non-grocery items in a typical week is online.
Shopping During Work Hours; Shopping After 5 PM Is “Me” Time
— Has online shopping had a great impact on workplace productivity? Probably so. Nearly one in five (18%) working women admit that they do most of their online shopping during work hours.
— But, most online shopping is usually done between the hours of 5 PM and 12 AM (54%).
— Time spent shopping online is about shopping for themselves (51%), whereas time spent shopping in stores is more often focused on family members or others (56%).
Most Shopping Experiences Are Good; But…
— Despite the amount of time women are spending online, one-third (32%) of women who have shopped online in the past year said they had a negative experience.
— Among those women, 20% said they never got the item they ordered. Another 13% said the merchandise was very different than represented.
— And 451,588 American women claimed to have had their credit card number stolen online in the last 12 months.
You Spent How Much Online?
— On average the most ever spent for an item online was $397 and 15% have spent $1,000 or more.
— In the past 12 months, more than one-quarter of women shopping online have spent more than $1,000, and 9% have spend $2,500 or more. Women Prefer Grocery Shopping Offline
— What is the top item women won’t buy online? 17% of women say they would never consider buying food on the Web followed by clothing (14%), shoes (8%) and jewelry (7%).
Tips to Smarter Online Shopping
In addition to covering the online shopping trends of women in America, ShopSmart’s report offers tips on how to shop online to save money and avoid rip-offs:
— MAKE SURE YOU BUY FROM A TRUSTWORTHY SITE — Choose sites that physically have a store nearby so, should you have a problem, you can approach the store manager. If you are unfamiliar with an online vendor read reviews from several different sites, eyeball the site to make sure it clearly lists an address, phone number and spells out all transaction details. Misspellings or bad grammar are two hallmarks of amateurish sites that may be trying to rip you off.
— PICK THE RIGHT WAY TO PAY — The best way to protect yourself is to use a credit card as most large card issuers waive liability when the card is stolen. Using a check, money order or debit card leaves little recourse. Encrypted Web pages safe guard your credit card numbers as they fly through cyberspace, while the real danger occurs when your data reaches its destination. Consider using one of the new payment systems such as checkout.google.com and BillMeLater which allow you to pre-register and prevent you from having to enter your credit card numbers on lots of different sites.
ShopSmart Online Shopping Poll Methodology
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 427 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviewing took place over February 22-26, 2007. The margin of error is +- 4.8% points at a 95% confidence level.
About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $5.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.