Online Shopping vs. In-Store Shopping: 45 Stats You Need to Know

Person shopping online

E-commerce has seen a significant uptick throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with shoppers prioritizing the ease of online shopping in the face of health concerns and quarantine measures. Understanding how consumer views on online shopping vs in-store shopping have changed can help inform your retail strategy. These stats provide an overview of how the market has evolved.

The Shopping Habits Statistics You Need to Know for 2022

While brick-and-mortar retail stores still exist, retailers are increasingly shifting their strategies to focus on online shopping. This trend was already evident prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic accelerated it. Here are some key stats that show the shift in online shopping vs in-store shopping.

  • In 2022, the total number of online shoppers is expected to hit 266.7 million in the United States.
  • Omnichannel is the prevalent trend.
  • As of January 2022, the average add-to-cart ratio is 5.9%.
  • Consumers are shopping less frequently but spending more with each trip.
  • Gen Z consumers and baby boomers are most likely to spend more in brick-and-mortar stores.
  • E-commerce sales are expected to top the $1 trillion mark in 2022.
  • E-commerce only makes up about 13% of total U.S. retail sales.
  • Consumers of all ages miss the in-store shopping experience — but for different reasons.
  • Forty-seven percent of consumers buy financial services products online.
  • COVID-19 has increased consumer comfort with digital financial products.
  • Convenience is driving consumer support of online financial products.
  • E-commerce sales accounted for 13% of total sales in Q3 2021.
  • E-commerce sales have contributed to the steady growth of the retail sector over the past few years.
  • China is home to the world's largest e-commerce market.
  • For the first time ever, e-commerce sales in China will account for a majority of retail sales.
  • There were an estimated 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide in 2021.
  • In-store shopping is expected to grow.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores should maintain a curbside pick-up option in the years to come.
  • Men tend to avoid in-store shopping because of COVID-19 concerns more than women.
  • There are anywhere from 12 to 24 million e-commerce stores globally.
  • There are over 2.1 million online retail stores in the U.S.
  • The pandemic encouraged retailers to open online stores.
  • In 2022, online spending is expected to be 17.6% of total retail sales for the year.
  • 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last six months.
  • Men are spending more than women.
  • Women still tend to shop more in-store.
  • Men shop online more frequently than women.
  • Men tend to spend more on nonessential goods than women.
  • Millennials also are the most likely to buy online.
  • Millennials and Gen Z plan to continue traditional shopping habits once the pandemic subsides.
  • Consumer optimism remains strong despite COVID-19; however, older consumers are more cautious.
  • Black Friday in-store shopping increased in 2021.
  • Black Friday online sales surpassed $8 million in the U.S. in 2021
  • Consumers often browse on their smartphones but make purchases elsewhere.
  • An estimated 20% of all retail sales occur from November to December each year.
  • While retailers now tend to spread out their holiday sales over longer periods, the discounts have decreased.
  • Consumers like to shop online because it gives them 24/7 access.
  • Savings are another major motivator for online shopping.
  • One benefit consumers see of shopping in-store is the ability to browse for gift ideas.
  • E-commerce is on the rise among small businesses.
  • Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify are among the most popular e-commerce platforms for small business owners.
  • Food, alcohol, and tobacco products are still largely purchased in stores.
  • Although very few have shifted to buying groceries online, a large majority of those who have made the shift intend to maintain the habit.
  • Entertainment products have the highest share in total online retail sales.
  • Consumers expect to find better deals online.

Top Statistics

In 2022, the total number of online shoppers is expected to hit 266.7 million in the United States.

Online shopping is continuing to see growth. In 2021, there were 266 million online shoppers in the United States. That number is expected to grow to 266.7 million in 2022.

(Source: Statista)

Omnichannel is the prevalent trend.

Omnichannel retail refers to the process of bringing consumers a seamless shopping experience no matter where they decide to make a purchase. Whether it’s visiting a physical store or making a purchase through social media, 60% to 70% of adults report being omnichannel consumers.

(Source: McKinsey & Company)

As of January 2022, the average add-to-cart ratio was 5.9%.

"Add-to-cart rate" refers to the ratio of shopping sessions in which a consumer adds a product to a shopping cart. The minimum benchmark for a good add-to-cart ratio is considered 2.6%. According to a survey of online stores, 5.9% is the average add-to-cart ratio.

(Source: Littledata)

Consumers are shopping less frequently but spending more with each trip.

The pandemic inspired people to visit retail stores less frequently. Now, the number of weekly shopping occasions remains below pre-pandemic levels. However, shoppers are spending more with each visit: Since March 2020, the average amount of money spent in each shopping event has consistently been 13% to 29% higher compared to the same month the previous year.

(Source: NPD)

Gen Z consumers and baby boomers are most likely to spend more in brick-and-mortar stores.

Surprisingly, the oldest generation and one of the youngest generations are who you’ll find in-store shopping. Exactly 51% of both 18- to 24-year-olds and those 54 and older are most likely to shop in a store.

(Source: Delighted)

E-commerce sales are expected to top the $1 trillion mark in 2022.

Online shopping is continuing to see massive growth through the pandemic. In 2022, e-commerce sales are expected to hit $1.089 trillion and surpass $1.6 trillion in 2025.

(Source: eMarketer)

E-commerce only makes up about 13% of total U.S. retail sales.

Although e-commerce is growing increasingly popular, it only makes up a small minority of total U.S. retail sales. According to Q3 2021 figures, e-commerce made up only 13% of total retail sales that quarter.

(Source: U.S. Census)

Consumers of all ages miss the in-store shopping experience — but for different reasons.

Consumers are craving a return to the face-to-face shopping experience in 2022. Sixty-eight percent of boomers plan to return to in-store shopping for the experience alone. Boomers are more likely than their younger counterparts to shop in stores to support local businesses. Further, 59% of boomers shop in-store because they like to touch and see products first-hand.

(Source: Criteo)

Financial Services

Forty-seven percent of consumers buy financial services products online.

This makes financial services among the most popular products to buy online. Almost half of consumers buying financial services (49%) prefer to buy online. Meanwhile, in-store sales of financial products have decreased as consumer behavior shifts.

(Source: Statista)

COVID-19 has increased consumer comfort with digital financial products.

As more business has moved online in general, consumers have followed suit to support online retail — including in the financial services sector. Fintechs now have a greater proportion of customers aged 30 and older than they did prior to the pandemic.

(Source: McKinsey & Company)

Convenience is driving consumer support of online financial products.

Consumers like to have everything in one place instead of having multiple accounts at multiple institutions. When buying financial products, this desire is a key driver in centralizing purchases online. This is seen in the rise in popularity of tools like Klarna, an online payment system that allows consumers to pay online directly via their bank accounts.

(Source: McKinsey & Company)

Total E-commerce Statistics

E-commerce sales accounted for 13% of total sales in Q3 2021.

This was a slight decrease (3.2%) compared to the Q2 of the same year. However, this is an increase of 6.6% compared to Q3 2020. Total U.S. e-commerce sales for Q3 2021 are estimated at $204.6 billion.

(Source: U.S. Census)

E-commerce sales have contributed to the steady growth of the retail sector over the past few years.

In 2018, U.S. e-commerce sales totaled an estimated $520 billion (out of $3.6 trillion total retail sales). In 2019, e-commerce sales totaled $598 billion of $3.9 trillion total retail sales. In 2020, the number jumped to $792 billion in e-commerce sales out of $4 trillion in total sales.

(Source: Digital Commerce 360)

China is home to the world's largest e-commerce market.

China is the leader in global e-commerce sales, totaling an estimated $2.8 trillion in online sales in 2021. The U.S. is the runner-up, with e-commerce sales totaling some $843 billion, and the United Kingdom comes in third, with e-commerce sales totaling some $169 billion.

(Source: Oberlo)

For the first time ever, e-commerce sales in China will account for a majority of retail sales.

In 2021, it is forecasted that China's online sales will make up 52.1% of all retail sales.

(Source: eMarketer)

There were an estimated 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide in 2021.

The world's total population in 2021 is about 7.74 billion. That means that approximately 1 in 4 people are buying products online. The number of digital shoppers worldwide in 2021 increased 4.4% year over year compared to 2020.

(Source: Oberlo)

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

In-store shopping is expected to grow in 2022.

Foot traffic is expected to increase in 2022, with sales in physical stores forecasted to grow 6.3% to $5.149 trillion in 2022 — the strongest growth rate seen since 2011.

(Source: eMarketer)

Brick-and-mortar stores should maintain a curbside pick-up option in the years to come.

The pandemic forced many retail stores to offer a curbside pick-up option, and it seems like shoppers responded favorably. Nearly 40% of consumers would like curbside to remain available alongside more traditional shopping options after the pandemic subsides.

(Source: Square)

Men tend to avoid in-store shopping because of COVID-19 concerns more than women.

The pandemic’s effect on in-store shopping seems to have impacted men more than women. More than 70% of men stated that COVID-19-related health concerns impacted their in-store shopping habits compared to 54% of females.

(Source: Delighted)

There are anywhere from 12 to 24 million e-commerce stores globally.

The majority of these stores are actually quite small, earning no more than $1,000 annually. The boom in small retailers is likely due to the increasing ease of setting up a digital storefront. Platforms from Etsy to Shopify make it easy.

(Source: Digital Commerce 360)

There are over 2.1 million online retail stores in the U.S.

As of 2021, there are an estimated 2.1 million online U.S. retailers. The top online retailers in the U.S. are Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.

(Source: FinancesOnline, Statista)

The pandemic encouraged retailers to open online stores.

Another effect of the pandemic? More retailers invested in e-commerce. Exactly 29% of retailers said the pandemic encouraged them to invest in their online presence.

(Source: Square)

Online Orders: Mobile vs. Desktop

In 2022, online spending is expected to be 17.6% of total retail sales for the year.

E-commerce in the U.S. was just shy of $1 trillion in 2021. This is likely due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. With retail e-commerce sales expected to surpass $1 trillion in 2022, these sales will make up more than 15% of total retail sales.

(Source: eMarketer)

79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last six months

Conversion rates tend to be higher on non-mobile devices. Mobile made up 68% of worldwide retail e-commerce traffic in 2020, while desktop made up 32%. However, desktop conversion rates are 1.98%, higher than mobile's 1.81%.

(Source: SaleCycle)

Shopping Gender Demographics

Men are spending more than women.

Although both men and women reported that their spending decreased in 2021 compared to 2020, women are spending less overall compared to men.

(Source: Jungle Scout)

Women still tend to shop more in-store.

Men prioritize the ease of online shopping. However, women are still likely to pursue "retail therapy" and shop in brick-and-mortar stores. Women are especially likely to shop for clothing in stores, often due to sizing differences between brands. Seventy-three percent of women report shopping in-store for recreational reasons or sizing issues.

(Source: Delighted)

Men shop online more frequently than women.

Twenty-four percent of men shop online at least every day, while 70% shop online every week. In comparison, only 17% of women shop online every day, while 57% shop online every week.

(Source: Jungle Scout)

Men tend to spend more on nonessential goods than women.

The pandemic doesn’t seem to have stopped men from purchasing items that can be considered nonessential. Categories where men outspend women include electronics, toys, games, and tobacco. The biggest difference? Tobacco, with 23% of men buying the item compared to only 10% of women.

(Source: Jungle Scout)

Shopping Age Demographics

Millennials also are the most likely to buy online.

People aged 25 to 44 do the most online shopping. More specifically, those between the ages of 35 and 44 buy the most online, at 45%, followed by 40% of those between 25 and 34. Younger millennials (specifically those between the ages of 25 and 34) are also the age demographic spending the most online via apps.

(Source: Delighted)

Millennials and Gen Z plan to continue traditional shopping habits once the pandemic subsides.

Although over 25% of both generations believe they’ll lean toward online shopping once the pandemic subsides, more than 40% of both generations believe they’ll return to their old shopping habits — meaning a mix of online and in-store shopping.

(Source: Total Retail)

Consumer optimism remains strong despite COVID-19; however, older consumers are more cautious.

High-income consumers and younger consumers have driven spending in 2021. Among younger consumers, 59% are optimistic, displaying a spending growth of 15% year over year. In contrast, only 35% of older consumers are optimistic.

(Source: McKinsey & Company)

Black Friday In-Store vs. Online Statistics

Black Friday in-store shopping increased in 2021.

With a vaccine available and more safety protocols in place, foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday increased by 61% compared to 2020 levels. However, this was still more than 25% less than pre-pandemic levels.

(Source: Business Insider)

Black Friday online sales surpassed $8 million in the U.S.

Although Black Friday 2021 sales reached $8.9 million, it was a slight dip compared to sales from the previous year.

(Source: Business Insider)

Consumers browse on their smartphones but make purchases elsewhere.

Smartphones made up 44.4% of e-commerce sales on Black Friday. However, people weren’t always guaranteed to make purchases while on their phones. Although 62.2% of retail site visits came from smartphones, they accounted for less than half of all transactions — reinforcing the need for an omnichannel retail strategy.

(Source: eMarketer)

An estimated 20% of all retail sales occur from November to December each year.

The uptick in sales is driven largely by the sales held over Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the runup to Christmas. Part of the reason "Black Friday" got its name is due to the fact that in Q4, retailers go from being in the red to being in the black thanks to the retail boom.

(Source: VTEX)

While retailers now tend to spread out their holiday sales over longer periods, the discounts have decreased.

The average savings for Black Friday discounts in 2020 ranged from 5% to 25%. However, discounts are smaller than in the past. For example, in 2021, the average discount on computers was 25%, compared to 30% in 2020.

(Source: Adobe)

Why Do Consumers Shop Online?

Consumers like to shop online because it gives them 24/7 access.

A survey of 20,000 consumers revealed that the most frequently cited reason for online shopping was the time-saving ability and lack of hassle, allowing for browsing and buying at any time. The convenience of being able to shop from home was the second most cited reason.

(Source: Statista)

Savings are another major motivator for online shopping.

Fifty-six percent of Gen Zers expect to find better deals when shopping online. Meanwhile, 54% of millennials and 40% of boomers expect to save money when they buy online instead of in a brick-and-mortar store.

(Source: Criteo)

One benefit consumers see of shopping in-store is the ability to browse for gift ideas.

Thirty-eight percent of American consumers surveyed cited this as a primary reason to shop in stores. Other reasons given for in-person shopping were that they liked to touch and see products before buying (27%) and that they liked to get advice from sales associates (11%).

(Source: Sensormatic)

Small Business Online vs. In-Store Statistics

E-commerce is on the rise among small businesses.

COVID-19 has driven a great uptake in e-commerce among small business owners, likely due to stay-at-home orders and consumer hesitancy to shop in stores during the pandemic. In March and April of 2020, only 37% of small businesses surveyed were using e-commerce. By January 2021, this number had jumped to 47%.

(Source: Main Street America)

Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify are among the most popular e-commerce platforms for small business owners.

Small business owners who have shifted rapidly to e-commerce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have often turned to user-friendly platforms instead of starting their own e-commerce stores. Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify are among the popular e-commerce sites that make it easy for anyone to set up a digital storefront.

(Source: USA Today)

Categories Consumers Still Want to Buy In-Store

Food, alcohol, and tobacco products are still largely purchased in stores.

These product categories have also seen minimal growth (a maximum of +10%) in online purchases when comparing numbers before and after COVID-19. In comparison, furnishings and appliances have seen growth of +14% in online sales since COVID-19.

(Source: McKinsey & Company)

Although very few have shifted to buying groceries online, a large majority of those who have made the shift intend to maintain the habit.

While only 16% of consumers have shifted to digital grocery shopping, more than 75% of these respondents intend to keep some of these habits. For grocery stores, this means they should still prioritize their digital shopping options.

(Source: PYMNTS)

Entertainment products have the highest share in total online retail sales.

This category includes books, music, videos, and video games. In this niche, 69% of all retail sales were made online. Computer and consumer electronics came in second in terms of the highest percentage of e-commerce sales, with 53% of total sales in this niche made online.

(Source: Statista)

Consumers expect to find better deals online.

Fifty-six percent of Gen Zers, 54% of millennials, and 40% of boomers report expecting to find better deals online. That said, as retailers continue to implement and refine in-store safety protocols, this sentiment may change as the pandemic subsides.

(Source: Criteo, Adobe)

Learn more about your consumers’ shopping habits

The retail landscape continues to change. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one of the many factors influencing retail consumers' behaviors. Retailers who want to keep up with the evolving landscape must tailor their strategies to current demands. CouponFollow provides the essential data and shopping statistics you need to stay abreast of market changes.

Sources

This page is based on research from CouponFollow, as well as a number of other reports from the notable sources listed below:

about the author

Marc Mezzacca
Marc Mezzacca is CEO of CouponFollow, a consumer savings engine that surfaces popular coupons. He has been in the coupon and deals industry for over a decade with a deep interest in evolving e-commerce technologies.