More than 85 percent of the world’s online
population has used the Internet to make a purchase — increasing the
for online shopping by 40 percent in the past two years — according to the
latest Nielsen Global Online Survey on Internet shopping habits. Globally,
more than half of Internet users have made at least one purchase online
in the past month, according to Nielsen.
“The Internet is no longer a niche technology — it is mass media
and an utterly integral part of modern life. Almost no aspect of life
untouched by online media. As our lives become more fractured and
it isn’t surprising that consumers turn to the unrivalled convenience of
Internet when it comes to researching and buying products,” said Jonathan
Carson, President, International, Nielsen Online.
“When The Nielsen Company conducted its first global survey into
Internet shopping trends two years ago, approximately 10 percent of
the world’s population (627 million) had shopped online,” said Bruce Paul,
VP, Customized Research, Nielsen U.S. “Within two years, this number
has increased by approximately 40 percent (to 875 million).”
Among Internet users, the highest percentage shopping online is
South Korea, where 99 percent of those with Internet access have used it to
shop, followed by the UK (97%), Germany (97%), Japan (97%) with the U.S.
eighth, at 94 percent. Additionally, in South Korea, 79 percent of these
Internet users have shopped in the past month, followed by the UK (76%) and
Switzerland (67%) with the U.S. at 57 percent.
Globally, the most popular and purchased items over the Internet are
Books (41% purchased in the past three months), Clothing/Accessories/Shoes
(36%), Videos / DVDs / Games (24%), Airline Tickets (24%) and Electronic
Among Germany’s Internet users, 55 percent said they bought books, 42
percent had bought Clothes/Accessories/Shoes and one in four had purchased
Music/Videos/DVD’s in the past three months.
During the same period, among Internet users in the UK, 45 percent
bought books online, followed by Videos/DVDs/Games (44%),
Clothing/Accessories/Shoes (38%), Music (37%) and one in four Internet
shoppers also purchased and Airline tickets/Reservations online.
Among U.S. Internet users in the past month, 41 percent bought
Clothing/Shoes/Accessories, 38 percent bought books and one in three
Internet shoppers bought Videos/DVDs/Games.
The number of Internet consumers buying books over the Internet has
increased seven percent in the past two years but the biggest increase has
been in Clothing / Accessories / Shoes which increased from 20 percent
percent. “Some of the biggest buyers of books on the Internet are from
developing countries — China, Brazil, Vietnam and Egypt — indicating
massive growth potential for online retailers that can specifically
fast-growing markets,” said Carson.
Internet shopper interest in buying Videos/DVDs and airline
tickets/reservations rose two and three percentage points respectively over
the Internet in the past two years — today one in four online shoppers
globally said they had purchased these on the ‘Net in the past three
More than 70 percent of Indians and more than 60 percent of Irish
and UAE Internet users said they bought airline tickets/reservations on the
Internet in the last three months, making travel the fourth most popular
shopping category on the web.
“Travel is a category extremely suited to the Internet due to the
latter’s ability to provide efficient access to an extremely wide range of
comparable information. Whilst certain areas of the travel industry were
initially slow to utilize the benefits of the Internet, it is now one of
undoubted success stories of online, playing an integral part in the
arrangements and experience of today’s traveler,” said Carson.
One in four global Internet users bought DVDs/Videos online in the last
three months, with UK users topping the list (44%), followed by South
Africans (38%). The U.S. was fifth at 31 percent.
Payment Methods for Internet Shopping
Credit cards are by far the most common method of payment for online
purchases — 60 percent of global online consumers used their credit
a recent online purchase, while one in four online consumers chose
those paying with a credit card, more than half (53%) used Visa.
Turkish online shoppers (who represent the economic elite in that
country) topped global rankings for credit card usage (91%) for online
purchases followed by 86 percent of Irish online shoppers and 84 percent of
Indian and UAE online shoppers. “Shopping on the Internet with the ease
credit card is especially appealing to consumers in emerging markets who
simply cannot find or buy items they want in their retail trade. The
has opened up a whole new world of shopping for these consumers,” said
While Latam and Asian online shoppers are also more likely to use
credit cards than any other form of payment, debit cards are most popular
among UK (59%) and U.S. (40%) online shoppers.
Selecting Online Shopping Sites
According to Nielsen, online shoppers tend to stick to the shopping
they are familiar with, with 60 percent saying they buy mostly from the
site. “This shows the importance of capturing the tens of millions of new
online shoppers as they make their first purchases on the Internet. If
shopping sites can capture them early, and create a positive shopping
experience, they will likely capture their loyalty and their money,” said
In selecting sites on which to shop, one-third used a search engine or
just surfed around to find the best online store. One in four relied on
“Recommendations from fellow consumers — whether they are people they
know or fellow online shoppers — play an enormous role in the
decision-making process. The explosion in Consumer Generated Media over
the last year means that this reliance on word of mouth, over other
referral, looks set to increase,” said Carson.
Source: Nielsen Online, December 2007
About The Nielsen Global Online Survey
The Nielsen Global Online Survey is the largest half-yearly survey
kind, aimed at gauging current confidence levels, spending
and current major concerns of consumers across the globe. The latest
conducted from October to November 2007, polled 26,312 Internet users in 48
markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East. The
survey is representative of all Internet users aged 15+.
About Nielsen Customized Research
Nielsen Customized Research, operating in more than 100 countries,
provides clients with survey research, analytical and consulting services,
including measures of consumers’ attitudes and purchasing behavior,
segmentation, brand equity, pricing, packaging, advertising effectiveness,
customer satisfaction & loyalty and other marketing issues.
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with
leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media
information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and
BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications
(Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is
active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the
Netherlands, and New York, USA.