Shopper Motives & Preferences in a Digital-First World

In an all-DTC world, people are online shopping — a lot. To better understand consumer behavior and fundamental changes going into Q4 and beyond, Bluecore surveyed 1,005 U.S. online shoppers over the course of a two week period in Q2 2020 on their preferences. Below are our findings on which channels, products and incentives have the most influence on their purchase decisions.

dings for Part 1 in this State of Personal Commerce series, which details the experiences and sources that have the most influence over consumers’ trust in a brand, across demographics.

Word of mouth has the greatest impact on purchase decisions.

  • 68% of respondents rated word of mouth as having the most impact on their purchase decisions, rating it a 4 or 5, followed by online ads (49%).
  • Shoppers view influencers and celebrities differently: 42% view influencers as low impact, whereas 52% saw celebrities as low impact.

Younger consumers (<45) are the most impacted by the top three channels (online ads, email, and word of mouth).


  • For the top three most impactful channels (ads, email, and word of mouth), younger consumers and men would be impacted the most.
  • Men are impacted more than women by both online ads and email, but there is no difference in impact from word of mouth.

Consumers are most willing to try new brands for tops, pants, or shoes.


  • Hosiery is the product category that the fewest shoppers would buy a new brand for (17%).

Word of mouth and online ads reign as most influential when trying a new brand.


  • Consistent with what we see above, consumers say that word of mouth and online ads would have the most influence on their purchase decision if they were considering buying a new brand.
  • Again, here celebrities have a smaller impact than influencers.

60 percent of online shoppers find free shipping as the most compelling incentive to purchase.


  • Second to free shipping is a percent-off offer, with more than one in four (27%) rating a percent off as most compelling.
  • Other incentives would be much less impactful in terms of influencing purchase behavior.

Percent-off incentives are most compelling to younger consumers.


  • While free shipping is the most impactful incentive for all age groups, it is less compelling for younger consumers.

A third of surveyed shoppers are highly likely to purchase a product from a brand that offers a trial or in-home testing period.


  • Two-thirds are likely to purchase if offered a trial period (66% rate their purchase likelihood 50-100%) while one-third is unlikely (34% rate their purchase likelihood 0-49%).
  • The average likelihood to take advantage of this type of offer is 57%.


This data was collected through an online panel conducted by Dynata.

  • The surveys were distributed over the course of a two-week period in Q2, 2020
  • 1,005 US-based individuals responded to the survey
  • Respondents were the primary or shared decision-maker in their household
  • Respondents frequently or occasionally shopped online prior to COVID-19