Online shopping grows larger and larger each year. Forrester Research predicts that 167 million consumers in the U.S. will spend $226 billion online in 2012. Consumers shopped online in full force on Black Friday in 2012. ComScore reports that Americans spent $1.04 billion to kick off their holiday shopping. What type of consumer is most likely to shop online and where do they live?

The online shopper

Buying everything from books to computers to even groceries from online retail stores has become more and more common since the ability emerged in the 1990s. While people from all sorts of backgrounds from across the country will shop online, some people are much more likely than others to buy online.

Esri, the world’s leader in geographic information systems, provides Market Potential data that includes a Market Potential Index. The index measures the probability that adults or households in a specific area will exhibit certain consumer behaviors compared to the U.S. average. The index is tabulated to represent a value of 100 as the overall demand for the U.S.

The areas with the highest likelihood of residents that shop online are in states on the Eastern Seaboard, around Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver and in several Western areas, including the coast of California.

ZIP codes with some of the highest potential for shopping online are 07046 (Mountain Lakes, N.J.), 19035 (Gladwyne, Penn.), 60022 (Glencoe, Ill.), and 98039 (Medina, Wash.). Each of these ZIP codes has a market potential index of at least 171, meaning a resident in those ZIP codes is at least 1.71 times more likely than the average American to shop online.

Click on image to enlarge map.

Click on image to enlarge map.

What type of person is most likely to shop online? Esri’s Tapestry Segmentation system can provide this type of information. Tapestry classifies U.S. residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.

Residents of neighborhoods dominated by Tapestry segments Boomburbs, Connoisseurs, Laptops and Lattes, Metro Renters, Suburban Splendor and Top Rung are most likely to shop online. These neighborhoods have an index of 150 or higher for shopping online meaning residents are 1.5 times more likely than the average American to shop online.

Except for Metro Renters, the other segments listed above are affluent. All are avid online shoppers; they go online for everything. Differences occur in age, housing and family types. Top Rung, Suburban Splendor, Connoisseurs and Boomburbs households are married couples with children. Connoisseurs households are a bit older; Boomburbs are younger. Residents of Laptops and Lattes neighborhoods are high-earning singles who love big-city life.

The Amazon.com customer

Amazon.com is the highest grossing online retailer. The company posted $48.1 billion in net sales in 2011. In October 2012, Amazon.com had over 103 million visitors from the U.S., according to compete.com. Who are these U.S. consumers and where do they live?

Similar to the average Internet shopper, areas with the highest likelihood of residents that buy from Amazon.com are in states along the Eastern Seaboard, around Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver and in several Western areas, including the coast of California.

ZIP codes with some of the highest potential for shopping online are 10069 (New York), 92657 (Newport Coast, Calif.), 01741 (Carlisle, Mass.), and 94301 (Palo Alto, Calif.). Each of these ZIP codes have a Market Potential Index of at least 232, meaning a resident in those ZIP codes is at least 2.32 times more likely than the average American to shop at Amazon.com.

Click on image to enlarge map.

Click on image to enlarge map.

Residents of neighborhoods dominated by Tapestry segments Connoisseurs, Laptops and Lattes and Top Rung are most likely to shop at Amazon.com. These neighborhoods have an index of 200 or higher meaning residents are two times more likely than the average American to shop at Amazon.com. Residents of Boomburbs, Metro Renters, Military Proximity, Silver and Gold, Suburban Splendor, Urban Chic and Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs neighborhoods are also highly likely to shop at Amazon.com. These neighborhoods have an index of 150 or higher meaning residents are 1.5 times more likely than the average American to shop at Amazon.com.

The commonality here is use of the Internet — residents of these segments shop online frequently. Differences occur in age, affluence and household type. Boomburbs and Military Proximity are the youngest segments in the list; Silver and Gold residents are the oldest. The armed forces are primary factors of life in Military Proximity neighborhoods; residents are either on active duty or civilian employees of the military. Household types are mixed; married couples with and without children, singles and shared. Urban Chic, Metro Renters and Wealthy Seaboard Suburbs neighborhoods have few or no children.

The eBay customer

The online auction site eBay took in $11.65 billion in 2011. The company facilitates online auctions among people from all around the world. In the U.S., 80 million people visited the site in October 2012, according to compete.com. Who uses the site and where do they live?

Areas with the highest likelihood of residents that shop on eBay are in states along the Eastern Seaboard, around the Great Lakes and throughout the West.

ZIP codes with some of the highest potential for shopping online are 07310 (Jersey City, N.J.), 60661 (Chicago), 80203 (Denver), and 98121 (Seattle). Each of these ZIP codes has a Market Potential Index of at least 180, meaning a resident in those ZIP codes is at least 1.82 times more likely than the average American to shop at ebay.com.

Click on image to enlarge map.

Click on image to enlarge map.

Residents of neighborhoods dominated by Boomburbs, Laptops and Lattes and Metro Renters are most likely to shop at ebay.com. These neighborhoods have an index of 150 or higher meaning residents are 1.5 times more likely than the average American to shop at ebay.com.

Differences among these segments are age, income and household type. Boomburbs households are affluent married couples with young children; Laptops and Lattes and Metro Renters households are comprised of singles. The difference here is affluence; Laptops and Lattes and Boomburbs residents are high earners, while residents of Metro Renters neighborhoods are just beginning their careers. All go online frequently for multiple tasks — shopping, playing games, making travel plans and banking.

Why does this matter?

Online retail is growing at a faster rate every year. It is greatly affecting bricks-and-mortar businesses that have limited space to showcase and store their products for consumers. Often, consumers visit a traditional bricks-and-mortar store then go online to make their purchase because it is cheaper. Understanding who online consumers are, how they shop and where they live can help retailers adapt their businesses. In locations with a high likelihood of online shoppers, bricks-and-mortar stores can create smaller store fronts that just showcase products but allow consumers to have products shipped directly to their homes — for the same price as it would be online — in order to maintain their customer base. “Showrooming” provides real-time competitive challenges to retailers. Savvy companies will see these changes as opportunities to thrive in this exploding online business environment.

More information about Esri’s data can be found at www.esri.com/data or to learn more about Esri in general, go to www.esri.com.

Pam Allison is a digital media, marketing strategist and location intelligence consultant. You can visit her blog at www.pamallison.com.

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2 Responses to “Who shops online?”

  1. seems like most of the amazon customers all luxury product buyers.

  2. KTZ Shoes says:

    Valuable facts here, the number of online buyers increasing day by day.

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