“Extreme” shoppers and those who are keen to use the Internet, mobile devices and tools for value-oriented shopping that enable price comparison seem to be more numerous in the Old World than the New.

Online Shopping More Popular in Europe than the US?


Some 42 % of European consumers and 37% of all US consumers are classified as “Xtreme shoppers”. This means that their buying behaviour is highly value-oriented. Why should this be newsworthy? Because, according to GfK, which has just published an online survey entitled Own the Future of Shopper Marketing, the favourite channel for obtaining information on these products is the Internet. The study was carried out in Germany, Spain, the United States, France, Poland, the UK and Russia. And when it comes to using the Web, it’s once again the Old Continent that stands out. Some 95% of European “Xtreme shoppers” like to research products online, as opposed to 66% in the United States. In the same vein, three quarters of the Europeans polled state that they now research products on the Internet more often than in the past compared with 68% of the Americans. Xtreme shoppers, mainly people aged between 25 and 44 in full-time employment, also use mobile technologies more. One in four in Europe say they are making increasing use of mobile phones and tablets to help them shop.

Internet helping in the search for value, especially in Europe

This rising trend on both continents is largely due to the new belt-tightening economy, which is encouraging everyone to buy smarter. At a stroke, technology gives these consumers the information they need, and this is increasing competition. In Europe, three quarters of Xtreme shoppers – as opposed to two thirds in the United States – say the need to compare prices trumps their loyalty to a given retailer. “Retailers therefore need to find a way to reward loyal customers that will resonate with their current needs,” underlines Alison Chaltas, Executive Vice President at GfK, who co-authored the study. It also emerges from the survey that the lead European shoppers have over their US counterparts in the use of the Internet for shopping around for products holds good when it comes to the actual purchase. 

Couponing here to stay?

On average, just over two thirds (67%) of these Xtreme shoppers increasingly buy on the Internet, with Poland leading the way (82%), followed by the United Kingdom (74%), both far ahead of the United States (62%) and Germany (52%), which lags even behind France (64%). This European passion for online shopping can also be measured by the difference in enthusiasm from one continent to the other in the use of traditional vouchers, i.e. paper coupons. In the United States just over six out of ten people surveyed are now making more use of in-store coupons, as opposed to four out of ten in Europe. However, somewhat surprisingly, the study reveals that a majority of the Americans polled nevertheless regard online shopping as more efficient than physical shopping.