Online Consumer Electronics Shoppers Are Buying More Frequently, Spending Less Per Purchase, Reports NPD’s Checkout

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Average annual online consumer electronics spend per buyer was $590 in the last 12 months, up 7 percent vs. year ago

This shift is why today’s retailers focus on driving consumers into the store for big ticket, highly interactive purchases like TVs, where a benefit can be seen to shopping in a physical store, and allowing the online channel to focus on more transactional consumer interactions.

According to NPD’s Checkout, a receipt mining service, online consumer technology sales were up 16 percent in the 12 months ending May 2018 versus the year prior, as online shopping continues to increase across the consumer electronics landscape[1]. Despite the rise in online dollar sales, the average spend per purchase declined seven percent year over year, indicating that while more purchases are being completed online, these transactions are increasingly from categories that have items with lower average selling prices, like cell phone accessories.

While spending declined on a per purchase basis, overall annual spending per buyer increased to $590, partially driven by technology shoppers making nearly one additional consumer electronics purchase online in the timeframe.

According to NPD’s Checkout E-commerce information, the percentage of the U.S. adult online buying population that made at least one consumer electronics purchase in the 12 months ending May 2018 increased by six percentage points from the year prior, reaching 43 percent buyer penetration[2]. The consumer electronics categories with the highest buyer penetration were cell phone accessories (22 percent), portable audio (18 percent), and mobile power (13 percent).

“Growing online purchase frequency, especially of lower priced ‘grab and go’ items such as phone cases, screen protectors, portable chargers, and wired headphones, is shifting customer traffic from in-store to online,” said Stephen Baker, vice president, industry advisor for The NPD Group. “This shift is why today’s retailers focus on driving consumers into the store for big ticket, highly interactive purchases like TVs, where a benefit can be seen to shopping in a physical store, and allowing the online channel to focus on more transactional consumer interactions.”

[1] The NPD Group, Checkout E-commerce, June 2017- May 2018 vs. June 2016- May 2017

[2] Buyer penetration is the percentage of the U.S. adult online buying population that made at least one technology purchase during the indicated timeframe.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

NPD is the leading global provider of market information and business solutions covering brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and emerging channels in more than 20 industries. We combine our unique data assets with analytic solutions to help our clients measure performance, predict trends, and improve results, advising them to help drive successful growth. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, consumer electronics, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including first and third-party sales for Amazon and other marketplaces, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and an early read on emerging players. Information is collected from more than 3 million consumers, through data provided by our partner Slice Intelligence and NPD’s own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.

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