Customer Behaviour

Marketplace shoppers regularly browse online sites, making an average of two purchases each month, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail.

Amazon and eBay are leading the market with 80% of marketplace shoppers buying monthly from Amazon, including 17% doing so weekly. 76% of marketplace shoppers purchase from eBay every month and 16% do so on a weekly basis,

The majority of marketplace shoppers are female but male shoppers spend, on average, a third (31%) more than females per month (£67 vs £51). The study, part of Royal Mail’s annual Delivery Matters report, asked 1,000 UK online marketplace shoppers about their marketplace shopping habits.

This is the first time Royal Mail has dedicated a report to marketplace shoppers. It found that clothes (32%) are the most commonly purchased item from online marketplaces, closely followed by books (31%).

Consumers are choosing to buy on marketplaces due to low prices and deals (76%) and the range of products available (70%). They pick marketplaces over online retailers because they can find better deals (60%), purchase items they can’t find elsewhere (51%) and there’s more variety of the item they’re looking for (38%).

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said “The rise of online marketplaces is impacting the way consumers shop online and how retailers sell to their customers.

Shoppers increasingly expect the same experience when purchasing on a marketplace to when buying goods from an online retailer. Businesses that are selling via marketplaces need to ensure they are offering the best customer service possible, with a positive delivery and returns experience at the centre of this.”

The study revealed that it’s important for online marketplace sellers to provide a simple delivery and returns experience. Delivery options are key when shoppers choose between marketplace sellers and 75% of shoppers expect delivery times to be the same when ordering from an online marketplace as when they order from an online retailer.

Fulfilment of delivery options is a driving force behind the choice of seller. It is important that online marketplace sellers use delivery options strategically to be a point of differentiation from competitors.

When it comes to returns, 59% of those surveyed said the returns experience would impact the rating they would give to a seller and 62% would be unlikely to shop with a seller again after a difficult returns experience. 78% expect the returns process with an online marketplace seller to be similar or easier than with online retailers.

  • Amazon and eBay are the market leaders with 82% and 70% of marketplace shoppers buying from these sites, respectively
  • Online marketplace shoppers make purchases almost twice a month, on average
  • Clothes (32%) are the most commonly purchased item from online marketplaces, closely followed by books (31%)
  • Delivery options drive choice of seller, not choice of online marketplace

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