Prosper: Factors Beyond Price Influence Online Purchasing

As part of its ongoing consumer research, Prosper Insights & Analytics looked at what factors online shoppers consider most important. Price, not surprisingly, was the top priority, but other factors have substantial influence on purchase considerations.

Low price remains the top priority among online services provided, with 87.9% of respondents to a Prosper study saying it is somewhat or very important. However, over the 10-year period that the research firm reviewed data, that proportion has declined, while free shipping has risen in importance almost to match low price.

Flexible return policy is the next more important online shopping factor, remaining consistently important across the period and cited by about 80% of survey respondents as somewhat or very important. Next comes easy to use website, which has gained slightly to just under 80%.

The importance of pick up and return to store declined slightly over the past 10 years after rising marginally early on, yet it remains important to over 60% of consumers, according to Prosper. The importance of live customer service fell more severely and now is a priority for just over half of consumers versus over 60% a decade past.

In generational terms, low prices and free shipping are particularly important to Baby Boomers, Prosper noted, with 90% citing low prices and nearly the same proportion citing free shipping as somewhat or very important. Low prices remain the top priority for all generations except seniors, who value free shipping more. The greatest disparity in the two factors is among Millennials, who are considerably more interested in low prices, with over 85% saying that element of online shopping is somewhat or very important, while just over 80% rate free shipping as a priority. Still, that just over 80% is the lowest priority proportion in the study for those two web-based shopping factors, so both remain critical.

Same-day delivery is a priority for Millennials more so than other generations, with 46.8% rating it as somewhat or very important in the Prosper survey, followed by 43.9% of Gen Xers, and 40% of younger consumers aged 18-plus. Then, a fall off occurs with Baby Boomers, at 33.8%, and seniors, at 28.4%, rating same-day service as somewhat or very important.