Swimming Pool And Hot Tub Shoppers And Buyers Are Out There
Consumers are researching pools and spas extensively online.
Even during this deep recession, pools and spas are being sold.
Certainly not at the levels that they used to be sold...but none the
less, they are being sold.
There is a HUGE pent-up demand for pool and spa products right now.
Once the recession breaks, the pool and spa industry will see a
surge in consumer purchasing equivalent to, if not more than, the
period after the 09/11 tragedy......when air travel and vacationing
virtually stopped, and the pool & spa industry soared from 2002 all
the way until 2008.
Having your company positioned to take advantage of this upcoming
swell in business is most important. Having your products
advertised on pool and spa comparison niche web sites such as Pool
and Spa Living, Pool Search, Spa Search, Poolandspa.com, etc. should
be one of your main marketing priorities throughout the end of 2009
and into 2010. The research and impressions that consumers
receive now, will greatly effect their purchasing behavior when it
is "their time to buy" and when "consumer confidence" returns.
The economy continues to change consumers’ mindsets about when they
should shop, how to shop and eventually what to purchase. One
benefit of this trend for online retailers is that consumers
continue to spend large amounts of time online as they seek out and
take advantage of the best possible deals they can find.
Channel Adviser is building upon a study theypublished in Q1 2009 that sought to
identify how consumers shopped online during the holiday season in
2008. Here we examine how those behaviors have changed and, more
importantly, the trends we have identified that your business needs
to be preparing for heading into the holiday season.
We discovered that:
1. Consumers are spending about the same amount of time online but
are spending less money – scouring the Web for deals that yield
higher savings and offer extra value above and beyond low prices.
2. Shoppers don’t necessarily realize where they purchase and may
not understand how Google Product Search and other comparison
shopping engines function.
3. Amazon and eBay are top-of-mind retail brands, but Amazon
commands twice the mindshare of eBay.
4. Free shipping and peer ratings/reviews hold more influence over
purchasing decisions than they did in 2008.
5. 70 percent of consumers said they regularly purchase from eBay or
6. 81 percent of consumers begin their product searches with Google
and 11 percent begin with Yahoo – which is an increase of five
percentage points in favor of Google, and a six percent decrease in
7. Bing is making a quick impact since it launched on May 28,
accounting for two percent of searches and 13 percent of
respondents already having used Bing Cashback – a share that will
grow in light of the recent Yahoo/Microsoft search deal.1
8. Shoppers are diversifying the comparison shopping engines they
use to research products, prices and deals. We discovered some
useful trends by comparing consumer behavioral data to actual
internal sales data from thousands of online retailers that make up
the ChannelAdvisor customer base. These findings are the result of
surveys taken by 824 individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 years
old and from 29 states throughout the United States.
Consumers are researching more and are spending less
Consumers reported they now spend less money online than they did
from our survey in Q1 2009, with 11 percent more consumers reporting
they spend $0-$20 per month on online purchases. At the same time,
consumers reporting they spend over $76 per month on online
purchases declined by nine percent.
This trend coincides with a change in how consumers spend their time
online. While we found that consumers did not materially increase or
decrease the overall time spent online (seasonality factors like
summer vacations no doubt also affect this statistic), browsers are
devoting a higher percentage of their time to researching products
and prices. This is contributing to a growth in search volume
dedicated to online retail, the amount of time spent on
retail-specific sites (which has increased by nine percent in the
past year), and more effort devoted to seeking out coupons and
promotions. For example, consumers are using more sophisticated,
specific searches to seek out the exact products and deals they
want. As a sign of this trend, Google recently reported an eight
percent increase in searches comprised of three words or more.
Shoppers don’t necessarily realize where they buy
Despite spending a higher percentage of their online time devoted to
research and deal-seeking, consumers still may not necessarily
realize where they make their final purchase – or the sites they
used to get there. When asked where in the past six months they had
purchased a product online, 17 percent believed they had actually
purchased a product from a major search engine. And when it came to
comparison shopping engines, seven percent believed they had
purchased a product from Shopping.com, Shopzilla, NexTag or
Yet consumers clearly recognized that they bought from eBay, Amazon
and Buy.com, with 76 percent of respondents identifying these sites
as purchase points. We believe this highlights a persistent trend in
multi-channel retailing – shoppers don’t necessarily realize where
they buy their products, but they will definitely use all the tools
at their disposal to locate the deals they want. Furthermore, just
because consumers are able to use tools like comparison shopping
engines to find deals, it doesn’t necessarily mean these individuals
are aware of the sites they’re using. With consumers laser-focused
on the lowest possible prices and best deals available when they are
ready to make a purchase, it continues to be imperative for online
retailers to have a strong presence on as many channels as possible
(search engines, comparison shopping engines, marketplaces, online
storefront, affiliates, email). This maximizes findability,
increases brand awareness and enhances search engine favorability.
eBay and Amazon contribute to 70 percent of purchases Participants
indicated that Amazon is the first online retailer that comes to
mind – commanding 30 percent mindshare followed by eBay, Walmart,
Target, Overstock and Best Buy.
And when asked from what sites consumers regularly purchased, 70
percent of respondents indicated Amazon and eBay were consistent
shopping destinations – with each site ranking very close to each
other in terms of purchase regularity. On-site purchases are driven
by value enhancers, security features Free shipping, peer
reviews/ratings, free returns and the ability to view products from
multiple angles are the most influential purchase drivers on a
retailer’s storefront, consumers report. Free shipping and returns
have increased the most in influence since our last survey – as did
the ability for consumers to verify the validity of a retailer
through “trustmarks” such as Hacker Safe, Verisign, etc. These
trends should not be surprising – consumers want to ensure they are
maximizing their time by purchasing products from retailers that
offer the best price and the best value. Furthermore, they want to
feel secure in their purchase decision, as evidenced by the increase
in influence of rich imaging product views and trustmarks. Consumers
not only want to ensure they’re going to receive the product they
sought out to purchase, but also want a guarantee that their
personal data will be safe.
Search is integral to the purchase decision
Search engines remain the essential starting point on the path to a
purchase decision – serving as the originator of product research
and deal seeking. Our results show that Google has benefited the most
from consumers who are spending a greater percentage of their time
conducting product research, increasing five percentage points to 81
percent of consumers since Q1 2009 as the place where
product-related searches are started. Yahoo’s influence, on the
other hand, suffered by six percentage points, while Bing has
already captured two percent of origination searches. Search engines
in general are benefiting from increased query volumes and are
driving more visits than ever before. The net result is more
visibility for online retailers, deal sites and product research
destinations. Advertisers should definitely take advantage of these
It’s worth mentioning the newest search contender, Bing, and the
news that Bing’s ad click rate may be as much as 50 percent higher
than Google’s and 20 percent higher than Yahoo’s.3 One explanation
may simply be that Bing users are more willing to click on ads – or
that Bing’s ad selectivity could be making ads even more relevant to
searches, thus increasing the likelihood they’ll be clicked.
Comparison shopping engines can’t be ignored
Comparison shopping engine awareness and usage has remained fairly
consistent – including the fact that consumers diversify greatly the
sites they use. Shopping.com benefited the most from Q1 2009, as
respondents indicated they used the site more often by two percent.
Surprisingly, Yahoo! Shopping and Google Product Search did not rank
– we believe this is another example of how unaware consumers are of
where they shop or browse. Since both shopping sites are embedded
into the search engines, the shopping experience may be seamless
enough that the majority of searchers do not realize how they found
Although consumers aren’t attached to specific comparison shopping
engines in the same way they’re attached to Google, Amazon and eBay,
they still play a significant role in product research and
purchasing decisions. It’s no wonder when you consider the sheer
number of comparison shopping sites available for consumers to
browse. There are a couple of ways retailers should evaluate
comparison shopping engines to determine where energy should be
focused. First, you should consider which sites consumers are
visiting, ie look at traffic. Being aware of where consumers are
doing product research is good, but knowing which comparison
shopping engines are generating conversions is even better.
Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy at using all online
channels to conduct research before making buying decisions. From
pricing, to coupons, to shipping, to reviews, to brand perception,
retailers need to be conscious of how they are viewed from a
consumers shopping experience.
We believe that retailers should adopt a sound multi-channel
strategy for selling online. With the holidays quickly approaching,
online retailers need to ensure they are appealing to cautious
consumers in as many ways as possible.
Use our key findings to improve ways that you reach and
communicate to buyers:
· Consumers are researching more and are spending less.
· Shoppers don’t necessarily realize where they buy.
· Amazon and eBay contribute to 70 percent of purchases.
· On-site purchases are driven by value enhancers, security
· Search is integral to the purchase decision.
· Comparison shopping engines can’t be ignored
· Positioning your company on niche comparison web sites in 2009 and
2010 will prove very beneficial
Much of the information above from ChannelAdvisor
www.channeladvisor.com Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved