What Characterizes the E-commerce Market in the USA?
How to reach American customers and present them the offer of your online store? What are the standards and habits of online shoppers in the USA? Keep reading to find out how to win the hearts and wallets of American Internet users.
Table of Contents:
- E-commerce in the USA – The Introduction
- Habits of American E-Shopper
- Customers in the USA – What Do They Use?
- SEO for E-commerce In The USA
- What Are The Expectations of Online Shoppers in the USA?
- The Take-Home Message
Since the Columbus times, we all somehow wish to conquer North America which is associated with business success, economic freedom, and rapid development of new technologies. It’s not surprising, after all, the United States of America accounts for 25% of the world economy. Today, you can win the hearts of American customers straight from your home office. Let’s make the US e-commerce industry your azimuth.
E-commerce In the USA – the Introduction
The e-commerce market in the USA is pretty sizable, therefore, it’s not surprising that you don’t want to miss such a sales opportunity. The Hootsuite “Digital 2020” report confirmed that there are 288.1 million Internet users in the USA, 230 million of whom use social media. The average age of an American Internet user is 38 years and the typical income is 62 795 dollars per year. Every day, a typical US citizen spends almost 7 hours online, which includes 2 hours of browsing social media, 1.5 hours spent on streaming services, and an hour devoted to playing game consoles (e.g. Xbox or PS5). On average, American Internet users spend 3445 dollars shopping online every year.
Americans spend even 2 hours and 40 minutes browsing the net on mobile devices and 35% of all online B2C transactions are made via smartphones or tablets. If your online store isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s the last call to implement the necessary modifications. 60% of American Internet users eagerly use mobile shopping apps. So why don’t you develop a mobile application for your online store?
Brick-and-mortar stores have been suffering because of the development of the e-commerce sector for many years. This is caused by the domination of Amazon and its own sales network, Amazon Go. What’s more, the ongoing pandemic and restrictions made the situation even worse. The fact that more and more American brick-and-mortar stores are closed is a great opportunity for international suppliers, distributors, and online store owners. According to the data collected by Costar, more than 20,000 traditional shops and ¼ shopping malls have been closed in the USA in recent years.
It’s also important to mention that the post-pandemic reality has a positive impact on the value of the e-commerce sector in the USA which makes it even more attractive. In March and April 2020, during the first lockdown, online sales in the USA increased by 49%. Some time ago PayPal announced that 1st May 2020 was the most profitable online shopping day in history. It’s predicted that by 2025, e-commerce will constitute nearly 18.5% of all transactions in the country. In 2018, it was only 11%. As stated by Forrester and Statista, the value of the e-commerce sector in the U.S. is expected to reach between 712 and 735 billion dollars a year in the upcoming years.
Habits of American e-shoppers
The abovementioned impressive amounts result from the fact that as many as 88% of Americans use the Internet, 78% shop online at least once a year, 32% buy something online once a month and 29% of users shop online once a week. As you can see, Americans love e-commerce. In addition, according to Hootsuite research, 66% of American users are willing to pay online with their credit cards. It’s also worth taking into account ecology – every third e-commerce customer in the USA decides to pay 25% more for ecological products.
The sales funnel is pretty encouraging. 92% of users browse online stores to find interesting products, 82% search for specific goods and 76% finalize transactions. So what do Americans buy the most frequently?
- Travel ($275 billion)
- Clothes, shoes, fashion, and cosmetics ( $103 billion)
- Electronics ($95 billion)
- Toys and hobbies ($74 billion)
- Furniture and interior design ($63 billion)
- Food and personal hygiene ($30 billion)
- Video games ($18 billion)
- Digital music & streaming ($5 billion)
It turns out that as many as 40% of American Internet users have already bought something in a foreign store at least once and 77% declare to do so in the future. But let’s leave the percentages to discuss specific amounts – in 2018 42 million Americans shopped online internationally and spent over 80 billion dollars.
So what do Americans import the most frequently? What should your online store offer include to appeal to local customers and encourage them to finalize transactions? According to DHL and FedEx, the list includes:
- Electronics, computers and new technologies (15% of total imports)
- Fashion, clothing, and accessories
- Pharmaceuticals, health and beauty products
- Books, CDs, and other physical media
- Stones and precious metals
- Furniture and interior design
Sources of product knowledge
How do Americans learn about new products, brands, and e-commerce stores before placing an order? What should you focus on when entering the US e-commerce market?
- TV advertisements (38%) – not many foreign businesses choose this option as a single spot in the USA can cost an arm and a leg.
- Word of mouth and online reviews (36%) – remote word of mouth marketing can be pretty challenging. Watch out for services that promise to provide you with appropriate reviews – this usually means pure bot-generated spam you’ll need to pay for.
- Google search results (33%) – this is the element you can control relatively easily with the use of appropriate SEO activities.
- Information published on your online store website (30%) – quality SEO copywriting, valuable product descriptions and social proof are elements that come in handy in case of this solution.
- Ads in brick-and-mortar stores (25%).
- Social media (23%) and Google ads (21%).
Customers in the USA – what do they use?
The most popular apps
Why should you need that information? It’ll help you choose the most appropriate spaces for your paid ads and learn about the finest communication channels. So what apps are the most popular among American Internet users?
- Facebook & Facebook Messenger
- Amazon (Amazon and Amazon SEO are really powerful, trust us!)
- Pandora Music
The most popular online stores
Amazon is “the king of the kings” when it comes to the American e-commerce sector (40%). As many as 89% of online shoppers bought something on Amazon at least once in their lives. Walmart, The Home Depot, eBay, Target, Best Buy, Groupon, or Lowe’s are ranked on subsequent positions. Monitor the strategies they use and get inspired when creating your own campaigns or UX and UI solutions for your online store.
The most popular search engines, operating systems, and browsers
According to Statcounter data, Americans prefer to use Google Chrome (52.8%). Safari is chosen by 31.55% of Internet users. Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer are left far behind. In terms of operating systems, Android has already lost to Apple iOS (44.3% vs. 55.6%). However, Google still conquers the world of search engines chosen by Americans (87%). The ability to identify the most popular browsers and operating systems is crucial when it comes to appropriate online store optimization and the SEO process.
SEO for the e-commerce market in the USA
We’ve already discussed SEO in the USA on Delante’s blog. At this point, it’s crucial to use appropriate language (British and American varieties of English can differ significantly), ensure user-friendly mobile website version, provide appropriate Google Maps SEO, or obtain quality external links from popular, American websites. All these elements are real must-haves if you want to succeed in the American e-commerce market.
What are the expectations of online shoppers in the USA?
A good online store offering products in the United States should make sure that the recipients:
- Have access to the most popular payment methods such as credit card payments (used by 57% of Americans), PayPal (25%) or e-wallet (23%),
- Can choose various delivery methods – this is a decisive factor for 43% of American shoppers. 53% of US e-commerce customers won’t place an order without knowing a specific delivery date and 83% of them expect to be able to track the order – if you want to conquer the American e-commerce world, make sure that you can handle this task,
- Have access to multichannel customer service 24/7 – it’s a significant challenge for numerous online stores based in different time zones,
- Can sleep soundly knowing that their needs and expectations are understood. This is particularly relevant as the requirements of American customers may differ from the requirements of European shoppers,
- Can check your products in price comparison engines which are used by 86% of Americans,
- Have access to appealing and inspiring social media content – the Millennials or Y and Z generations constitute 26% of the whole society. They don’t trust paid online advertisements anymore. On average, these users spend online 5700 dollars a year and their typical shopping cart value amounts to 57 dollars.
The take-home message
If you get to know your potential customers, understand their habits and online preferences, prepare an offer and website content tailored to their requirements and ensure appropriate online visibility, you’re very likely to succeed in the American e-commerce market. If you need any help with achieving these objectives, contact us. We know how to professionally do SEO for the e-commerce sector in the USA.
Nice insights! It looks like entering the e-commerce market in the US is quite a challenge given the competitiveness but there’s a way to make it happen.
I think every market is competitive nowadays. It’s just about reaching out to the right target group and choosing a good niche.