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SOASTA Report: 91% of Back to School Online Shoppers Find Making Online Purchases Stressful

SOASTA Report: 91% of Back to School Online Shoppers Find Making Online Purchases Stressful

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It’s already back-to-school time! SOASTA, the leader in performance analytics, today unveiled the findings of its annual SOASTA Back to School Shopping Report Card, which found that nearly all (91 percent) of parents who plan to shop online for back to school report there are stressors for them when making online purchases for the new school year. A recent MobileFOMO article discusses how, retailers are searching for new ways to engage customers – both on- and offline, and how the mobile shopper demographic is already nearing its tipping point.

According to SOASTA’s research, back to school online shoppers cited shipping costs (57 percent), out-of-stock inventory (51 percent) and not being able to see or test the product before buying (50 percent) among the top stressors when shopping online for back to school.  Additional frustrations they’ve experienced include:

  • Credit card security – 30 percent
  • Slow load times – 27 percent
  • Page crashing in the middle of a transaction – 25 percent
  • Hard-to-navigate websites – 23 percent
  • Out-of-date website and buying process – 19 percent

While most back to school online shoppers report feeling stressed while making their online purchases, SOASTA’s research confirmed that a majority of back to school shoppers (55 percent) do plan to shop online for the new school year, with nearly 1 in 5 (17 percent) planning to shop using their smartphone or tablet. Millennials are the most likely to shop online for back to school, with 66 percent of men ages 18-34 and 63 percent of women ages 18-34 planning to shop online to get their families ready for back to school.

Among the items back to school online shoppers plan to buy online, more than one-third (36 percent) say they plan to buy clothing, and nearly one third (33 percent) say general school supplies (such as pens, folders and notebooks) are on their online shopping lists. Other popular items for back to school online shopping include:

  • Shoes – 27 percent
  • Books – 24 percent
  • Laptop/smartphone/tablet – 22 percent
  • Beauty products – 13 percent
  • A haircut – 8 percent

SOASTA’s research revealed that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of smartphone/tablet owners would use a shopping app such as Amazon, eBay and Zappos to do their shopping.  Nearly half (49 percent) of smartphone/tablet users would use a shopping app when looking for deals, and more than one-third (37 percent) would turn to a shopping app for price comparison when shopping in a store. Other popular occasions for using mobile shopping apps include:

  • When I’m on the go – 32 percent
  • In bed, before I sleep – 22 percent
  • When I’m on vacation – 16 percent
  • When a website takes too long to load on a desktop or laptop – 14 percent
  • Less stressful than websites – 10 percent
  • When I’m out on a boring date – 4 percent
  • When I’m in a work meeting – 3 percent

For the second year in a row, SOASTA’S Back to School Shopping Report Card has uncovered serious pitfalls when it comes to digital performance during one of the biggest shopping events of the year,” said Ann Ruckstuhl, Chief Marketing Officer, SOASTA. “Web and mobile app performance matters now more than ever before, and it’s critical that e-commerce and m-commerce sites have real-time visibility into user experience, conversion and monetization. SOASTA can help digital businesses achieve maximum performance by monitoring, measuring, testing and optimizing their websites and mobile apps all year round.”


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of SOASTA from July 14-16, 2015, among 2,056 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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