The following brief discusses the most recent data available on the average number of online purchases per customer, per year in the United States and also provides insight on the average value of these online purchases. This data is gleaned from worldwide consumer studies from reputable consulting firms and online statistics portals. To provide more context, the brief begins with a look at e-commerce sales trends then proceeds to give an overview of consumer spending habits US. The questions of average number of online purchases per customer, per year and the corresponding average order values are then addressed.
E-commerce Sales Trends in the United States
According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales rose by 16 percent from 2016 and reached approximately $453.5 billion in 2017. This was nearly four times the overall retail sales growth average for the same period which was only 4.4 percent. Furthermore, e-commerce sales increased their share of total sales to 8.9 percent in 2017, up from 8 percent in 2016.
Consumer Shopping habits in the United States
BigCommerce, an e-commerce platform provider, published results of an in depth study of US consumer shopping habits across retail channels. The first insight from their report is that Americans do 36 percent of their shopping online. When it comes to which sites appeal the most to Americans, large retailers are in the lead at 74 percent. They are followed by e-commerce marketplaces at 54 percent, webstores at 44 percent and "category-specific" online retailers at 36 percent. The most purchased items from online marketplaces include apparel at 44 percent, electronics at 34 percent, beauty products at 29 percent, entertainment products at 44 percent and gift items at 14 percent.
BigCommerce's survey provides insight on how different generations of Americans shop. Sixty-seven percent of Millenials prefer online to in-store shopping compared to 56 percent of Generation X. These percentages reduce further for older Baby Boomers at 41 percent and Seniors at 28 percent.
Shopping frequency statistics show that Americans shop online with some regularity. Eighty percent of Americans say they shop online every month, while 30 percent do so every week and 5 percent shop online daily. According to BigCommerce's survey, the average American shops online for at least 5 hours each week.
Average number of online purchases per customer, per year in the United States
Global consulting firm KPMG International surveyed 18,430 consumers across 50 countries to gain an understanding of consumer's expectations of online shopping, and subsequently published their findings in 2017. What they discovered was the average number of online transactions per person, per year for North America is 19. This was second only to Asia with 22.1 transactions. North America is followed by Western Europe with 18.4 transactions, Australia and New Zealand with 16.1 transactions, Eastern Europe and Russia with 11.9 transactions, Africa and the Middle East with 11 transactions and finally Latin America with 9.2 transactions. The North American figure of 19 transactions is indicative of the US, which is the dominant online market in the region.
Average online order value
Online spending statistics for 2017 from online statistics portal Statista, indicate that the average online order value for the first quarter of 2017 stood at $82.50. This value subsequently rose in the third quarter of 2017 to $84.10. The average online order value for 2017 can therefore be estimated by averaging the first and third quarter numbers using the following formula:
(Quarter 1 average order value + Quarter 3 average order value)/2
= $(82.50 +84.10)/2