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Low income earners & ecommerce

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Monday September 25, 2006 )

Online shopping is certainly no longer the bastion of middle to high income earners. According to a recent survey, non-business purchase online shopping in the lower income bracket was the only slice of the market to grow between April and August this year.

Of the 4,000 U.S. primary household shoppers who took part in the Retail Forward ShopperScape™ study:

– 60% of those surveyed with an income of $22.5k or under purchased non-business items online in August, which represented a 10% increase over April 2006.

– 66% of respondents within the $22.5k to $75k income bracket purchased items online in August, a drop of just under 5% on April.

– For those in the high income range of $75k+; the figures remained static at 78%

Retail Forward states the reason for the increase in low income earner online purchasing can be partly attributed to increased accessibility to the Internet and the impact of high gas prices.

I think the increase is also partially due to increasing numbers of low cost items being available online, thanks to micropayment systems becoming more affordable for ecommerce merchants.

Added to that, a major mistake we often make when thinking about our audience and potential clients are their income levels. Credit comes easy these days which is good for merchants, but can be quite unfortunate for this segment as the paying back of credit card debt can be very painful. People who in the past did not have access to high limit credit cards now do – and they use them.

Such is the nature of rampant consumerism and our continued efforts in refining our methods for turning online browsers into buyers – regardless of whether they need the product we’re touting or not or if the consumer has the ability to repay the credit card debt incurred through its purchase.

I’m believe it’s called good marketing and “not-my-problem”. Nice world, ain’t it? Sorry – sometimes my marketing/ecommerce side and my altruistic side clash terribly :).


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