The Online Shopping Statistics You Must Know in 2023

Melanie Balke
January 25, 2023

With 2023 in full swing, now is the perfect time to brush up on your marketing knowledge regarding online shopping. Like all things, marketing has trends and patterns. Understanding the numbers may seem tedious, but it’s critical to success! And what better time than the start of a new year to look at the state of affairs in online shopping using cold, hard, useful data?

It goes without saying, but in 2023, buyers have more ways than ever to interact with businesses. Traditional in-store shopping is slowly recovering, but there are plenty of other options. Standard ecommerce sales, mobile shopping, and video feeds are just a few examples of today’s growing virtual shopping mall.

So, where are your customers, and where are they doing their online shopping?

What are they doing, what do they want, and how can you reach them?

In today’s blog post, I’ll give you a rundown of the most important numbers you should know in the retail industry. And once you know those, you’ll be set to tackle the marketing needs of your online business!

The Basics: Where Are Your Digital Shoppers?

Satellite view of the world at night. The overlaid text reads, “Customers: Habits, Trends, and Activities.”

I’ll kick things off with a basic review of the past few years: Covid changed everything, and now some aspects of online shopping are going back to normal. But it's clear from online shopping statistics that some online shopping "truths" we took for granted may never be relevant again.

While the ecommerce industry should still be wary of brick-and-mortar stores, their return has yet to dull the power of online shopping. This ultimately boils down to one thing: convenience.

Time and time again, studies — many conducted during the pandemic — show that digital buyers value convenience over in-person experiences. While many online shoppers concede that in-store shopping has its perks, they ultimately return to digital storefronts for convenience and speed.

That’s not just conjecture, either! Multiple studies have drawn the conclusion that our societal preference is shifting to shopping online, including one from the United States Census Bureau.

Nonetheless, many shoppers ultimately opt to shop in-store for certain items. While familiar products (e.g., certain groceries, clothes, and mobile phones) are usually purchased online, many customers prefer to make large or risky purchases in person. Shopping statistics also show that newly launched products tend to fare better in-store.

So how does the savvy email marketer reconcile these competing shopping statistics and figure out the best combination of strategies for their brand in 2023?

Keep reading to find out!

The Data on How People Shop Online

Overlapping palm fronds. The overlaid text reads, “The Data: What the Numbers Say About Consumer Shopping Habits.”

With the big picture established, let’s dig deeper.

What are the exact numbers for online shoppers? How and why do people shop online?

It’s handy to know how online sales are changing, but a smart marketer must also know how individual habits are evolving. As online purchases continue growing, more people are turning to the web for convenience, ease, and comfort.

However, shopping online ultimately lacks the physical experience.

To compensate, websites must understand what draws customers to prioritize a digital experience over an online store. In other words, why do people shop online?

Aside from obvious factors (e.g., product quality and customer service), there are three major factors dictating whether a customer chooses an online or a brick-and-mortar store:

  1. Convenience: Consumers often choose the digital option if an online store is more convenient.
  2. Familiarity: People who shop online are more likely to purchase from brands they know.
  3. Shipping: Customers prefer fast shipping. If it’s significantly quicker for someone to drive to a store and pick up the product, they’ll likely opt for the physical store.

Again, it’s worth noting that the target audience of an online store or brand will influence purchases, too. Should an audience lack widespread internet access, it’s unlikely that brands targeting them will see much online success. Similarly, online businesses targeting tech-savvy audiences (i.e., Gen Z) begin with a wider potential audience.

So, what does all of this mean?

How to Harness the Power of Convenience

Overlapping ferns. “Convenience: Guarantee Customers a Convenient Experience to Optimize Sales.”

Of the three deciding factors, the most influential element over online shopping is a brand’s convenience. Generally, this means the ease with which customers can acquire something in-store versus online.

However, there are a few more factors to consider when it comes to understanding why and how internet users shop!

Most online shoppers will abandon their carts if an ecommerce store has a slow or inefficient website. Having an overly complicated checkout process is another problem cited by online buyers.

In both situations, buyers are likely to leave before completing their transactions. Growing ecommerce sites must consider their digital experience to satisfy these criteria and attract more customers.

Larger retail websites can take convenience a step further by offering shopping apps to take online purchases into a smartphone interface.

The Benefits of a Digital Presence

A multi-paneled digital meeting. The overlaid text reads, “Familiarity: Customers Are More Likely to Buy From Brands They Know.”

The majority of online shoppers purchase from brands they know and trust.

Now, that doesn’t mean your brand needs to be a longstanding legacy. Even the freshest faces can become trusted authorities.

The modern ecommerce market is less about decades of experience and more about being present. Establishing a decent social media presence and including existing customers in regular marketing updates is enough to rocket small brands to online store stardom.

Brands must also consider the power of social proof in marketing. This longstanding tactic remains an influential tactic, and 91% of online shoppers cite user reviews as a major influence on their purchasing decisions.

To boost your brand’s user-generated presence, consider investing in customer-first setups. Maintaining relationships with influential online figures can provide additional ammo for your brand’s growth.

Secure Your Shipping Options

Old letters. “Shipping: Customers Prefer Fast and Reliable Shipment Options.”

While businesses can’t control shipping, they can do their best to offer fantastic service. You don’t need to provide free shipping to draw customers, and plenty of Americans shop online at retailers without free shipping!

What really matters is that customers have rapid access to all pertinent tracking information. With mobile ecommerce, multiple options exist for users to track the status of each order.

However, I’d be lying if I said fast shipping does not influence your average order value, as most consumers shopping online prefer 2–3 day shipping. For some services, such as online grocery shopping, timeliness is of the utmost importance.

Now, some businesses can afford slower shipping speeds. Highly customized items, luxury goods, and some large purchases tend to have more patient buyers. Nonetheless, many vendors offer free shipping to compensate for slower processing times.

The Big Online Shopping Statistics

A busy shopping mall. “The Big Stats: General Stats to Know in 2023.”

Now that we know about customers, what about internet users in general?

How have things changed over the past few years, and what trends are emerging in the ecommerce market?

For starters, the pandemic changed a lot about how people shop. 2020 was one of the most significant years for online stores, with global ecommerce sales surging 26.4%! (In the United States alone, online retail grew 43% in 2020.) Even now, as in-store shopping statistics rise, the online shopping experience remains a staple of daily life.

More specifically (and perhaps, more relevantly), 2022’s online holiday sales rose 3.5% year-over-year, amassing $211.7 billion for ecommerce businesses. Depending on who you ask, this is partially due to the massive discounts offered by most of the highest-ranking retailers. Whatever the cause of this surge may be, the bottom line is the same: Online marketplaces aren’t going away.

However, online stores are changing. As in-person retail sales continue their slow climb, some online consumers are finding more reasons to return to brick-and-mortar stores, and that could be worrying if you own an online store. Again, whether consumers shop online and make an online purchase is heavily influenced by the products they purchase. (It’s also worth noting that, in some industries, shopping online is far more difficult, and even the greatest discounts may fail to draw customers to online retail stores.)

Does this spell the end of online shopping in 2023? Absolutely not. Yes, the golden age of ordering groceries online is over, but there are numerous trends that reveal the cooling of a few online shopping statistics is only one piece of the puzzle.

The Rise of Mobile Shopping

A person holding a phone. “Mobile Shopping: How Apps and Mobile-Friendly Design Can Change Your Brand.”

For starters, it’s no secret that mobile devices have gained a prominent place in our everyday lives. Over half — and, in fact, closer to ¾ of all Americans — now own a smartphone. These convenient devices have changed how we communicate and (more importantly for ecommerce brands) how people shop.

Like most things, the pandemic also impacted how internet users interact with their mobile devices. As remote experiences (like online grocery shopping and direct delivery) became the norm, the attitude towards online shopping shifted. Now, more people than ever are willing to use online stores.

In addition to standard website shopping, customers are also engaging with branded apps and mobile games. Of these potential online shoppers, 21% prefer mobile shopping. Many online shoppers are younger consumers — particularly Gen Z — making the younger audience key to improved ecommerce revenue.

Notably, apps tend to have more perks than websites, and these purpose-built platforms usually have faster responses, cheaper prices, and built-in rewards options. However, both platforms have shown improved commerce revenue after introducing one-click checkout features.

Critical Online Shopping Statistics to Know

Overlapping palm leaves. The overlaid text reads, “The Stats: Major Ecommerce Statistics for 2023. In the United States, online sales grew 10.8% in Q3 2022. Online businesses saw a 4% rise in Cyber Week sales.”

With the thriving growth of online retail sales in the past few decades, it’s obvious that global sales are being driven into the digital sphere. Convenience, comfort, and ease have guided consumers to online stores, and digital buyers are an integral part of any retailer’s game plan.

During the 2022 holiday season alone, ecommerce sales were 14.1% of all total retail sales worldwide. The final tallies for last year’s holiday sales ultimately broke multiple records and exceeded many expectations.

With the dust settled, we now have some remarkable stats on retail ecommerce sales in 2022, including these holiday season figures:

  • Cyber Week sales rose by 4%, amassing $35.3 billion in sales
  • Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales rose 2.9%, generating $5.29 billion
  • The U.S. online retail industry achieved 10.8% growth in Q3 2022
  • Worldwide Black Friday ecommerce sales broke $9 billion for the first time in history

Plenty of online shopping statistics also illustrate the shifting habits of digital buyers. Consumers are less likely to purchase impulsively, and both in-store and online shoppers are taking more time to research products.

Online retailers can capitalize on these trends by optimizing their sales funnels for website visitors. When a customer decides to purchase online, they should be able to discover, research, and purchase the item with little hassle. However, these tips aren’t the focus of this blog post; the numbers are!

As consumers shop online, the numbers show that:

  • 44% trust online reviews
  • 45% of shoppers research a product before buying
  • More than half of customers prefer multiple purchasing options
  • Subscription, pickup, and delivery services have grown

In other words, people are more willing to trust one another. Shopping statistics show that a mix of variety, customer-generated content, and responsive customer service are rightfully emerging trends. And, more importantly, ecommerce isn’t going anywhere!

To fully understand the deeper meaning of the latest online shopping statistics, take a peek at a crystal ball. (Or ask your local economic expert for their opinions.)

The Future: What Do Experts Predict?

An old-fashioned radio. “The Big Picture: Predictions and Expectations.”

I’ll preface this section with a disclaimer: While this data uses plenty of current information, these figures are purely speculative. Don’t put all your ducks in these baskets because things can go wrong! However, I’d be a poor teacher if I ignored the opinions of the world’s economic experts.

Though some suggest that ecommerce sales will dwindle as the world reopens, most predictions show online sales growth. Some expect the change to be modest, while others suggest there may be a massive surge in online profit.

A guidepost at sunset. The overlaid text reads, “The Future: Expert Opinions and Predictions for 2023,” followed by bulleted statistics: “E-commerce sales are expected to make up 20.8% of all sales in 2023. Since 2020, global retail sales have grown by 15%! E-commerce sales comprised 14.1% of all retail in Q3 of 2022.”

Experts at Forbes suggest that ecommerce sales may make up 20.8% of all purchases in 2023. Revenue-wise, Morgan Stanley predictions suggest that ecommerce sales can grow 48.3% — increasing from $3.3 trillion in 2022 to $5.4 trillion in 2026.

As you build your brand and optimize your online shopping carts, you must think like an online shopper. As digital shoppers continue to change, so, too, should your strategy. The brightest minds in the ecommerce industry have crunched the numbers, and their predictions include stats such as:

  • Argentina, Brazil, and India are the fastest-growing markets
  • Mobile commerce will reach $7 trillion by 2025
  • Nearly half of all commerce sales will be mobile by 2024

What This Means for Your Brand

A Californian suburb. “What It Means: How to Amplify Your Brand.”

To make a long story short: Online shoppers are changing, and online consumers crave different experiences. While some customers will always prefer to shop in-store, others are more than happy to engage with online marketplaces.

While these numbers are indicative of the current economy, they also point to certain trends in digital commerce. As more people switch to buying and paying online, brands must focus on multifaceted experiences. Some of the biggest statistically-backed tips to optimize your company’s customer experience in 2023 include:

  • Creating an app for online purchases
  • Improving experiences on mobile devices to accommodate how people shop online
  • Offering curbside pickup for physical locations and some services (i.e., buying groceries online)
  • Offering multiple ways to purchase, both online and offline
  • Optimizing checkout to reduce shopping cart abandonment
  • Taking advantage of curiosity and consumer shopping behavior

These tips can push your business into the realm of astronomical success and help your brand achieve its online shopping goals for 2023.

Amplify Your Business

If you want to amplify your retail ecommerce sales, you must understand the world’s shopping behavior.

However, as a small business owner, you likely don’t have time to pore over shopping statistics and devote hours to studying how consumers shop.

Studying mobile shopping statistics is the last thing on your mind, and knowing the most popular online marketplace won’t really help you handle the internal problems you tackle every day! Moreover, the cost of digital customer acquisition is rising. Today, Facebook ads cost 40% more, and shopping cart abandonment is rampant.

You need a way to compete with the constantly growing number of online retailers. You need someone who knows the trends, understands habits, and commands attention. With more people than ever opting to buy online, your marketing team must be the best, but the requisite expense of such a team can be impossible to afford!

That’s why I founded The Email Marketers.

My hand-picked team of experts has the power and knowledge necessary to amplify your appeal to online consumers and boost your ecommerce sales. If you’re ready to change your business, contact me! We’ll discuss the future of your digital commerce and lay out a plan for success.

You can also continue browsing my blog for more amazing tips and tricks to amplify your digital marketing.