Consumer online shopping behavior in 2022

What do US consumers experience when shopping online in 2022? How does that match with their expectations? What steps can brands take now to make sure they are delivering for their customers?

In our latest research, we pinpoint consumer perceptions of online shopping convenience. We provide actionable tips on how to create enjoyable online shopping experiences.

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People aren’t satisfied with the service they receive when online shopping

The key finding of our research is simple: people are not getting the experiences they expect when they’re shopping online. The general feedback we received is that people expect better service when they shop online. The surge of popularity in e-commerce in recent years has led even traditionally brick-and-mortar brands to lean in to the online market. Yet despite its popularity, brands still deliver subpar online shopping experiences. Our research has found that the problematic and stressful experiences consumers have become accustomed to have made them adapt their shopping behaviors.

US online shoppers worry about delays

  • 86% experience delays shipping and delivery
  • 42% experience a delay of at least 1 day when shopping online  
  • 19% worry about shipping delays 

Shoppers want to buy online but buying motivation has changed. Frequent delays mean shoppers are losing confidence. We see more people planning ahead and buying early, even if it means missing out on a sale or promotion. The appeal of getting your order on-time outweighs the buzz of a bargain.​

Benchmark your post-purchase experience against the top 50 DTC brands.

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Packages are regularly lost or damaged

  • 18% had a package never arrive 
  • 23% receive an incorrect item 

Our research found 28% of online shoppers receive damaged items. Having to return and replace the item is stressful and time-consuming while affecting how people remember the brand. With experiences like this so common, it’s no wonder people are losing brand loyalty.  

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Customers are left in the dark

  • 86% experience delays shipping and delivery
  • 42% experience a delay of at least 1 day when shopping online  
  • 19% worry about shipping delays 

Shoppers want to buy online but buying motivation has changed. Frequent delays mean shoppers are losing confidence. We see more people planning ahead and buying early, even if it means missing out on a sale or promotion. The appeal of getting your order on-time outweighs the buzz of a bargain.​

Benchmark your post-purchase experience against the top 50 DTC brands.

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Poor experiences damage customer relationships

  • 48% say a poor shipping and delivery experience affects their relationship with a retailer 
  • 23% are unwilling to order from a retailer again after a negative delivery experience 
  • 17% have left a negative review online after a negative delivery experience 

Even though third party carriers are responsible for the delivery, people remember the brand negatively when issues occur. Brands must consider how they can own their experience.

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Reconnect during delivery

  • 90%  want brands to engage them during delivery
  • 56% want immediate updates in the event of a delay
  • 31% don’t want to use the carrier’s website to find   information

People want regular updates on their order, so why aren’t brands delivering them? We know that 36% of people want to track their orders on a map. Knowing this gives brands a clear indicator on how they can improve the experience that they deliver.

How can you deliver regular order updates?

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Returns processes are overly difficult

  • 87% want brands to communicate during the returns process
  • 35% want notifications when the return is shipping back to the retailer 
  • 32% want regular updates on where the return is 

Returns processes are overly complicated and time-consuming. Often, there is little to no contact throughout the lengthy process. This means that people are left wondering what to expect. A simple, well-explained returns process will provide people with peace of mind.

Why are returns painful for everyone?

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Operations Experience Management

People want new branded content

  • 26% want how-to guides for their purchase 
  • 20% want information about recycling or sustainability programs 
  • 23% want product recommendations related to their recent purchase 

Sharing relevant, engaging content makes people feel seen and valued. People don’t just want updates on their order, they want to hear about new products, community groups and how-to guides. This insight will be great for making a lasting impression on your customers after purchase. 

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People want more sustainable options

  •  18% said there were no instructions for how to recycle their packaging 
  • 64% of consumers are frustrated by unsustainable shipping practices 

More than ever before, people are taking sustainability into account when shopping online. Brands can use every customer touch point to share their sustainability values. For example, provide instructions on how to recycle the packaging.

Sustainable e-commerce: helping your customers do better

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Irrelevant marketing is driving customers away

  • 49% say they were incorrectly targeted with marketing materials in the last six months
  • 42% of them went on to unsubscribe from all the brand’s marketing content

Customers disconnect from brands that send them unsuitable marketing materials. In fact, 22% of people that receive irrelevant messages from a brand decide not to repurchase again. Bad targeting and customer churn can’t be ignored.

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Brands miss the mark with product recommendations

  • 43% say they are marketed products they have already bought
  • 28% are marketed products that are not age-appropriate
  • 28% receive marketing for products that don’t match their gender identity

In order to market effectively, brands must ensure they target effectively. Use zero-party data to send personalized, tailored promotions. This will boost your engagement and repurchase rate.

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Customers are most emotionally invested in brands post-checkout

  • More than half (57%) of U.S. shoppers are emotionally tied to their online purchases
  • 63% are most emotional during post-purchase processes like fulfilment, shipping, delivery and returns

Brands should connect to their customers when they are most emotionally invested. This will help reassure customers and build trust. With an Operations Experience Management platform, brands can reconnect with engaged customers and drive them back to their site.

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Impulse buying creates opportunities to connect with your customers

  • 62% of U.S. shoppers have made impulse purchases in the last 6 months
  • 34% experience happiness or excitement when they impulse buy

For brands, knowing that celebratory moments motivate spontaneous buying is hugely valuable. Brands that share in their customers’ excitement and provide loyalty programs, such as rewards or birthday offers, are more likely to turn one-off impulse buyers into long-term customers.

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What this research means for brands 

Our research shows that clear, positive contact between people and brands throughout the entire customer journey will improve experiences. With personalized updates, live tracking links and an in-store order tracking page, people feel seen and valued.

As the leading Operations Experience Management (OXM) platform, we recommend that instead of simply owning customer communication during shipping, brands should take control of their end-to-end journey.

We partnered with YouGov to understand how consumer attitudes towards online shopping have changed. The survey was answered by 1000+ US shoppers from a range of backgrounds.

What is Operations Experience Management?

Connects the dots of data and translate operational complexity into customer happiness with Operations Experience Management. Enjoy total control of every interaction, and deliver a journey of your own design, within your own ecosystem. Learn more in our full report.