Facts – E-commerce



Web Sites

Search Engine Optimization


FACT: For retailers, online sales accounted for 9% of total sales in the U.S. in 2011 and are growing at more than twice the speed of brick-and-mortar sales (Forrester Research; Wall St. Journal, 3/9/12).

FACT: When shopping online, four out of five consumers are willing to consider any brand that will provide them with what they want (Yahoo/Universal McCann Comprehensive Online Quantitative Survey of 2,500 consumers; Ad Age blog, 5/24/11).

FACT: “What do you want brands to offer you online?” (Ad Age/Ipsos survey of digital media habits; Ad Age, 2/27/11):

  • Coupons = 65%
  • Better customer service = 42%
  • Games or other entertainment = 28%
  • Company news = 22%
  • Nothing = 19%
  • Other = 7%

FACT: Among retailers who rely mainly on direct sales, 62% say their biggest revenue generator is a paper catalog, according to the latest survey by the Direct Marketing Association of its members. Only a fifth of those retailers said they draw their biggest sales from their Web sites (Wall St. Journal, 10/16/09).

FACT: Despite all the buzz, consumers actually spend a relatively small share of their time on community sites (Facebook, YouTube, MySpace). 42.7% of consumer time online is spent with content sites, 28.6% is with communication sites, 16.1% with commerce sites, 7.5% with community sites, and 5% on search sites (Online Publishers Association's Internet Activity Index; Ad Age magazine, 3/11/08).

FACT: 67% of the online population is driven by offline messages to perform online searches for more information on a company, service or product. Thirty-nine percent of those respondents then make a purchase (2007 Ipsos survey of U.S. consumers).

FACT: User problems with Web sites (Harris Interactive Poll; Wall St. Journal, 10/2/07):

  • 87% of people have experienced problems with an online transaction.
  • 42% of those who experienced trouble abandoned the transaction or switched to a competitor's Web site.
  • 53% contacted customer service (of which 68% said the customer service rep wasn't knowledgeable about the Web site; 70% didn't think the rep understood their problem; 49% said the issue didn't get resolved).

FACT: More consumers are willing to pay for online content. While only about 10% of Internet users paid fees for online content or services (other than their access to the Internet) in 2003, today that number has risen to almost 20%. Men are twice as willing to pay for online content. Those in the 25-to-54 age bracket are less price-conscious (Ad Age magazine, 3/12/07).

FACT: Consumers rate the e-commerce shopping experience 11.6% more satisfying than offline retail (4th Quarter 2006 American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Commerce Report, 1/07).

FACT: Live customer support and other ecommerce interactivity increases customer conversions by approximately 20% — which means two out of 10 Web site visitors who would have left without buying anything are now staying online and purchasing something (Wall St. Journal, 12/18/07).

FACT: 28% of the 3,000 Spanish-preferring Hispanics surveyed say they're more likely to trust companies that offer Spanish-language Web sites (Forrester Research report, 4/26/07).

FACT: 77% of the people surveyed prefer consumer reviews of restaurants over professional reviews and advertising (Outsell survey, 2/13/07).

FACT: 71% of adults online use customer product ratings, with 42% saying they trust their peers' opinions (Forrester Research study; Wall St. Journal, 6/13/06).

FACT: One-third of those who visited an online dating Web site in 2005 became paying subscribers (Jupiter Research study, 2/8/06).


FACT: According to the latest Nielsen mass market survey, Internet users are now spending, on average, 17% of their online time using social network and blogging sites — that's nearly triple the percentage of time spent using the sector a year ago (Nielsen Company press release, 9/23/09).

FACT: During the last two holiday shopping seasons, approximately 44% of people bought gifts online (National Retail Federation's 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey; conducted by BIGresearch, 10/16/08).

FACT: Most experts peg 2007 as the year women tipped the scale to compose more than 50% of online users (Ad Age magazine, 2/12/08).

FACT: For travel information 70% of online adults go online first; for weather and traffic information, 43% go online first (Gfk Roper online survey of 2,000 American adults; Ad Age magazine, 12/1/08).

FACT: 67% of the online population is driven by offline messages to perform online searches for more information on a company, service or product. Thirty-nine percent of those respondents then make a purchase (2007 Ipsos survey of U.S. consumers).

FACT: 50% of online users turn to the Internet for food and cooking information (JupiterResearch study, 3/26/07).


FACT: Studies continue to show that Internet users trust and favor organic listings over paid search listings — unless the paid search listing is at the top of the page (Wall St. Journal, 5/1/07). In fact, when searching for products and services online, consumers click on non-sponsored search-results almost 80% of the time (Jupiter Research, Wall St. Journal, 3/13/07).

FACT: Half of all searches on Google and Yahoo are comprised of just 100 terms — and half of those are for brand names (Nielsen NetRatings report; Ad Age magazine, 3/15/07).

FACT: Of all the search phrases world wide, 28.9% of the people use two-word phrases, 27.9% use three-word phrases and 17.1% use four-word phrases (OneStat.com survey, 7/06).

FACT: 62% of search engine users click on a search result within the first page of results; 90% of users click on a result within the first three pages of search results (iProspect Search Engine User Behavior Study by Jupiter Research, 4/06).


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