#UK Discount sites like Amazon are popular among high-income earners — here’s what this means for online retailers


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Consumers with high incomes are increasingly making their purchases online. And contrary to popular belief, discount sites like Amazon are very popular among wealthy households.

  • 83% of consumers who live in households earning $500,000 or more say “Amazon is better than other stores,” according to a 2015 survey conducted by Shulman Research Center. 

Wealthy consumers’ preference for Amazon suggests that they place a high value on convenience — an area that Amazon is competing heavily in by offering services like one-hour delivery, online grocery ordering, and product refills. Moreover, the appeal of a good deal cuts across incomes.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we look at the habits of online shoppers across all incomes and assess how this behavior is driving growth in e-commerce. We also break down the demographics of US online shoppers by age, gender, and education, and take a look at what they’re shopping for, and how their behaviors differ. 


Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • E-commerce shopping and buying has gone mainstream — almost three-quarters of the US population now shops online — but the typical online shopper still looks somewhat different than the average US consumer. There are variations by income, education, gender, and age between those likeliest to buy online and on mobile and those likeliest to buy in-store.
  • Online shoppers tend to live in households with higher-than-typical incomes and higher-than-average educations. Putting together a composite based on various demographic trends, the typical US online shopper is a 44 year-old female who holds a college degree and lives in a household earning $110,000 annually, whereas the typical US consumer is a 47 year-old female who has some high school education and lives in a household earning approximately $52,000 a year.
  • 38% of e-commerce shoppers in the US live in households with incomes over $100,000, according to Experian, while the median household income in the US is around $50,000, according to the Census. 
  • 41% of online shoppers last year had college degrees, compared to 30% of the US adult population.


In full, the report:

  • Breaks down e-commerce behavior by income, education level, and age.
  • Looks at how women’s and men’s shopping behavior differs.
  • Examines mobile shopping tendencies by demographic.
  • Notes how shopping behavior is changing among younger age cohorts, and explains what that means for brands and retailers.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.


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