PwC survey: consumer behavior in e-commerce

News from the world of e-commerce: a recent study conducted by PwC delivers eye-opening insights.

PwC study: A group of different people do online shopping with their smartphones.
Image: © Alessandro Biascioli / Adobe Stock

What’s currently driving consumers in e-commerce?

Any marketer or sales specialist working at a retail company needs to have their finger on the pulse if they want to keep up in the fast-paced environment of e-commerce. Trends come and go or stay – and there usually isn’t any way of predicting them, although they are always highly influenced by social factors. For example, current inflation is having a significant impact on consumer behavior in e-commerce. But how is that manifesting itself in real terms, and what is still relevant today? A new survey conducted by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has the answers. We’ve summarized the key facts for you.

8 key facts on online consumer behavior

The PwC survey does in fact reveal plenty of new insights. The results capture what is currently driving consumers and what marketing and sales professionals should have on their radar. PwC delivered a total of eight core statements on the current situation in e-commerce. Some may seem obvious, while others are more surprising.

#1 Inflation is deflating sentiment

An astounding 96 percent of those taking part in the PwC survey said that they intend to save costs in some form or another over the next six months. The reason is obvious: high inflation is seriously dampening spirits in e-commerce after the boom that was seen during the pandemic.

#2 Hello, “phygital” world

We’re not seeing an out-and-out shift to online shopping. Although the pandemic has meant that online shopping has never been so popular, 43 percent of respondents still prefer to shop in-store. However, that doesn’t mean that consumers are approaching the way they shop as an either-or proposition. Many want retailers to improve the physical shopping experience by combining it with digital technologies and creating a “phygital” consumer experience, in other words one that is both physical and digital at the same time.

#3 Problems with supply chains and related factors

A lack of resources and products on the part of suppliers and problems with supply chains are still impacting e-commerce and spilling over into people’s shopping habits. For example, the PwC survey found that many consumers are being affected by out-of-stock products.

#4 The hybrid working trend: is it losing momentum?

In addition to questions relating to consumer behavior, the survey also asked participants about their ways of working, revealing interesting developments. Only 36 percent of respondents said they’re working in hybrid mode, meaning a mix of working from home and from the office or other job sites. That’s a decrease of 5 percent compared to the previous study conducted in spring 2022. In contrast, the recent study found that 63 percent identify as non-hybrid. A mere 10 percent are able to choose how and where they work.

#5 Sores as a comfort zone

Offering a frictionless shopping experience is crucial for retailers. According to PwC, customers have high expectations when it comes to their convenience when shopping in-store. The survey proposes AI-based technologies as a solution for reducing long checkout lines, for example in the form of checkout-free stores.

#6 The metaverse is on the rise

The digital world is constantly evolving, with the metaverse being one of the most significant developments to recently enter the scene. According to the PwC survey, customers can already experience various components of this digital space. Nearly a third of respondents said they have participated in metaverse-related activities in the last six months.

#7 Not without my data privacy!

One trend that should please many proponents of the GDPR is that the topic of data privacy is playing an increasingly important role for consumers. That’s something we wholeheartedly support! Almost half of those surveyed said they are extremely or very concerned about their data privacy on social media channels.

#8 Establishing trust and building a safety net are essential

Whether pandemics, wars, recessions, or structural challenges in global trade – the market is shaped by countless factors that companies have no direct control over. PwC therefore stresses the need for companies to focus on their resilience. The name of the game is monitoring the latest trends, creating amazing consumer experiences, and building and maintaining trust.

Conclusion: all eyes on the world of retail

The new PwC survey highlights that retail companies need to buckle down and roll up their sleeves by getting to grips with the latest trends, finding clever solutions, and putting them into practice. As always, our stories provide plenty of input in this respect. And if you want to take a deeper dive into the PwC survey and explore online shopping habits in more detail, simply go to the PwC website.