PMA Survey Details Reasons People Shop Online

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Survey finds consumers seek large selection and variety of merchandise online and are less motivated by price and tax.

The Performance Marketing Association (The PMA) has announced the release of results of its recent online shopping survey. The organization asked over 750 people across the United States to share the most important reasons that they shop online versus shopping at a physical store.

Respondents from 48 states gave their three top reasons for shopping online as well as their one overall top reason. When respondents could choose up to three, the top answers were: “Shipped Directly to My Door” (61.26%); “Saves Time” (50.13%); and “Large Selection/Variety of Merchandise” (44.63%).

“Although we suspected that time and convenience would be among the main factors for most online shopping,” explained PMA Executive Director Tricia Meyer, “it was interesting to see what beat them out when consumers were asked to choose only one. When asked to narrow it down, 21.47% of respondents said that a larger selection or variety was the single most important reason that they shop online.”

Shipping directly to their door and saving time each came in around 19%.

Noticeably low across the board were “No Sales Tax” and “Privacy of Purchase.” Each was given as the most important reason by less than 1% of the respondents.

Over the last 6 years, the PMA has actively fought alongside affiliates in over 10 states as those state legislatures argued, passed and sometimes killed a variety of proposed tax bills that create a nexus for online retailers through affiliate partners who resided in those states. In many of the cases, the legislators and a few organizations supporting brick and mortar businesses argued that local businesses were losing business to online retailers because consumers wanted to avoid paying sales tax.

“The argument that local businesses are unable to compete because they have to pay sales tax and online retailers don’t is easily disproven with these results,” says the organization’s Board of Directors President, Rachel Honoway, “Not only was the reason ‘No Sales Tax’ chosen by less than 1% of respondents, but the reason ‘Better Prices’ was the single most important reason for just over 11% of respondents. Local businesses should take note: price isn’t the determining factor for consumers these days. They want convenience and selection.”

More information about the survey and results can be found on the PMA site. Members of the Performance Marketing Association have access to expanded insights and analysis.


The Performance Marketing Association is a non-profit trade association founded in 2008. It is the only trade association representing the performance marketing industry. The PMA’s mission is to champion and protect accountable performance marketing.

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Tricia Meyer
Performance Marketing Association
since: 02/2010
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