What Are People Buying Online?

By Rich Johnson on Sep 12, 2010 19 Comments

Have you ever wondered what people were purchasing online? We took a look at some of the recent online shopping data (mostly from the 2010 Census, and from Pew) and pulled the most interesting of the findings. These are illustrated in the graphic below.

(click image to enlarge)

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19 Responses to “What Are People Buying Online?”
  1. Buddy says:

    “Other Merchandise” as number two in percentage distribution…

    yeah, that’s helpful

  2. Mark Fowler says:

    Great slides. Well done. I think you might have a problem wil the numbers at the bottom of the table. E.g. Music is listed as 3.1% of Sales at $2.9 Billion. Yet Toys are listed at 2.4% Sales at 2.7 Billion. Worth a look

  3. Alexandria Holder says:

    Uhhh…where are the “Adult” purchases? I would’ve figured porn subscriptions, adult videos and toys would top the list.

    Unless they are all tied in with the other groupings.

    • BlogZilla says:

      That’s one thing about our culture that disgusts me. It doesn’t want to acknowledge the truth unless it falls within their conservative agenda.

      The business world wants to pretend that the porn industry doesn’t exist when it’s a $14billion a year industry. That’s probably the number one seller online, but you won’t see this site telling you that, because for some reason their morals won’t allow them to tell you.

  4. SteveDude says:

    I bet adult purchases are in that giant “other merchandise” category. *If* I bought adult products, I would want it to appear as “other merchandise” too, no DOUBT.

  5. libert says:

    Are “Sales” in dollars or number of transactions? If it’s dollars, $2.9 billion for music seems very low in a country of over 300 million people (really only $10 per person? That’s about one album/10 songs).

    And if it’s transactions, the computer software & hardware numbers seem out of whack. Are people buying nearly four times as many pieces of hardware relative to software?

  6. BettyLaVerne says:

    Online Social Media Marketing can be measured , too. Try this out from ImpactInteractions, ROI from online communities:http://impactinteractions.com/measurement-reporting/moving-beyond-counts-traffic-social-media-measurement-that-works/1153

  7. dramaturge says:

    libert, Since it says “e-commerce sales” and doesn’t indicate dollars of sales, I would infer it means transactions. If it were dollars, I would expect it to say “dollars in e-commerce sales.” I took “sale” to mean a transaction as in “I made a sale.”

    I don’t think the hardware/software purchase is that out of whack. I bought my laptop online fully loaded with the software I wanted/needed. I would expect that turns up as solely a hardware purchase. I don’t think many individuals buy separate software packages while they do often buy laptops, specialized mice, etc., and business often buy software in bulk so it would be counted as a single transaction.

  8. BettyLaVerne says:

    I think Billions means dollars, not transactions. But, it would be nice to verify that ? maybe I’ll ask Reuters.

  9. Lavinius says:

    Where are the travel products – hotel bookings, plain tickets? Online travel sales is also counted to billions worldwide, are they included in this study in some category? Moreover, i think they should have been mentioned in a specific category.

  10. I was thinking the same thing about porn and “adult services.” Maybe I’m overestimating the market, but it seems like if “Other Merchandise” also included porn it would surpass clothing.

  11. Faye Constantino says:

    Non-Merchandise comprises many of the markets you mentioned. Travel, insurance, and on line porn is not merchandise, nor is shipping, insurance and a number of other intangibles. If the “porn” is a video purchase it may end up in Other merchandise, which is a vast category. This is a poll, taken of consumers, asking them to categorize their purchases. The percentages are then applied to the monetary equivalent to reach these numbers. You’ll note that adding those numbers gives us approximately 89 billion in online dollars, while projections for 2010 are 163 billion in sales. Obviously large markets are missing.

  12. Elvira says:

    I love seeing those statistics. Very interesting. I would immediately assume a huge majority would be electronics.

  13. kevin bartrum says:

    I read this somewhere else a while back, great stats good to know.

  14. Kevin says:

    Wow, i didn’t realize that furniture would take the lead. Surprising results. I wish we could dig into each catagory.

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