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Consumer buying behavior statistics

Interested in what drives shopping behavior? Statistics at your fingertips.

Understanding the consumer purchase behavior is the heart of payments. Vantiv and Socratic Technologies team up every month to learn what shoppers are thinking about and how that affects their purchasing behavior. Below is a full compilation of these fast facts to help you also understand the heart of the consumer.

Financial Institutions

Banking

  • While locations of bank branches (45%) and ATM's (41%) are important reasons for Millennials when selecting their FI, other features carry significant importance for Millennials compared to older generations: Mobile banking app (31% vs. 12%), Debit card rewards (24% vs 8%) (March, 2017)
  • Most preferred banking methods are visiting the branch (37%) and using a bank’s website (36%) (December, 2015)
  • Banks’ websites are used nearly equally across all generations, however, Retirees (49%) and Baby Boomers (40%) most prefer visiting a bank branch (December, 2015)
  • Millennials (21%) have the highest preference for a bank’s mobile app (December, 2015)
  • Less than half of Millennials have faith in their bank’s ability to provide investment advice or believe their bank has tools to help them reach their financial goals (December, 2015)
  • Online banking is the most recent activity with 80% of consumers using a bank’s website for online banking and 61% for online bill pay in the last month (December, 2015)
  • Overall, 31% of banked consumers have used Remote Deposit Capture and 48% have used a bank’s mobile app (December, 2015)
  • Capital One 360 is the most familiar Alternative Financial Services provider with more than one-third of consumers being at least somewhat familiar with the service (December, 2015)
  • 57% of Millennials have used Remote Deposit Capture compared to 23% of Boomers. Millennials are twice as likely (76%) to use a mobile banking app compared to Boomers (38%) (December, 2015)

Credit cards

Credit scores

  • 79% of consumers know their credit scores and 89% believe they know what affects their scores including: Payment history (79%); Public records (44); and Amount owed (42%) (August, 2015)
  • Credit Karma, credit card statements, and credit card websites are equally used by 21% of consumers to check their credit scores (August, 2015)
  • More than one-third (36%) also believe that credit bureaus are slightly above the IRS on their list of most hated groups (August, 2015)
  • More than one-third (38%) of consumers have had an error on a credit report (August, 2015)
  • While consumers may have a jaded perspective of credit bureaus, nearly half (48%) believe that the credit bureaus provide them with valuable information to prevent identity theft and 37% say the service provides more benefits than drawbacks (August, 2015)
  • More 25-34 year olds (91%) know their credit scores compared to consumers over age 44 (78%) (August, 2015)
  • More than two-thirds of consumers believe that credit bureaus are critical in helping them obtain credit (69%) and more than half (56%) say it’s a good indicator of how well you have managed your finances (August, 2015)
  • Only a small percentage (8%) of consumers use the traditional credit bureaus such as Experian to check their credit scores. Even fewer (6%) use their bank’s web site (August, 2015)
  • Of those consumers who reported having an error in their credit score, 36% said the error was difficult to fix and 29% were unable to resolve the error (August, 2015)

Credit card security

  • Consumers rated “Security/fraud protection benefits” and “Low/no annual fee” as the two most important features in explaining why they use a particular credit card most often. (April, 2016)
  • 61% of consumers believe that any extra time needed to process an EMV card is worth the added security (March, 2016)
  • 76% of respondents believe that EMV cards are more secure and 46% believe they are more convenient compared to traditional credit and debit cards (March, 2016)
  • Confusion still exists with consumers using EMV cards. 57% can’t tell which terminals accept EMV cards and 52% are confused because the process varies from place to place (March, 2016)
  • While the majority of consumers believe that the extra time is worth the wait (61%), they also experience frustration with untrained cashiers (39%) and the process that varies from retailer to retailer (52%). Overall, 59% have had a mostly positive experience (March, 2016)
  • Only 38% of consumers have heard of the term EMV. They are more familiar with “embedded chip” terminology (July, 2015)
  • The gap between EMV credit and debit card widens. As of March 2016, 66% of consumers have an EMV credit card, however, only 36% have an EMV debit card (March, 2016)
  • Grocery stores (84%) and Pharmacy/Drug stores (53%) are the retail locations where chipenabled EMV cards are most frequently used (March, 2016)
  • 40% of consumers would recommend EMV cards to others (March, 2016)
  • Millennials and GenXers are more likely to prefer retailers that accept EMV cards compared to other generations (40% vs. 23%). They are also more likely to recommend chip-enabled cards to others compared to older consumers (50% vs. 34%) (March, 2016)
  • Top 5 ways consumers protect themselves from in-store fraud: review card statements (68%), shred mail containing card or personal info (62%), pay bills online to avoid paper statements (37%), regularly review credit history/score (37%), notify card issuer when traveling (31%) (January, 2016)
  • When asked which forms of payment are Most and Least secure, more consumers rated chip-enabled cards (56%) as the most secure payment form followed by digital payments (think PayPal) with 30%. (January, 2016)

Merchants

Security/breach

  • Nearly half (45%) of consumers are aware of recent merchant data breaches within the past six months. Mass merchants were identified by 51% of aware consumers as the main source of merchant data breaches (June, 2017)
  • Nearly one-third (29%) of consumers think it is likely their card information will be stolen as a result of a data breach within the next 2 to 3 years (June, 2017)
  • While most consumers (75%) feel the responsibility of a data breach lies with the credit card issuer, more consumers have placed the responsibility of fraud protection on the merchant compared to 2 years ago (64% vs. 44%) (June, 2017)
  • 24% of consumers surveyed have been the victim of a data breach at a retailer or restaurant where they have shopped or dined (June, 2017)
  • The most common follow-up actions after a consumer has experienced a data breach are to contact the card issuer to cancel or replace the card (69%) and to change passwords for all online sites where the card is stored (60%) (June, 2017) (June, 2017)
  • 22% of consumers who were victims of a data breach reported that the retailer or restaurant that was breached did nothing to notify them of the breach: 39% of sent a letter, 37% offered credit and ID Theft monitoring, 31% sent an email notification (June, 2017)
  • Women are more proactive in contacting the card issuer and changing passwords in response to being victims of a data breach In addition, women have higher expectations of merchants to take action to notify them about a data breach (June, 2017)
  • Only 29% are currently equipped to process EMV payments, however 60% of SMB merchants will be ready by the end of 2015 (July, 2015)
  • Few SMBs have experienced cyber attacks (13%) or data breaches (11%) and only 21% have had more than 10 chargebacks in the last 12 months (July, 2015)

Loyalty program

  • "92% of consumers belong to at least one loyalty rewards program and on average belong to 6.7 programs. Grocery stores (63%) and Drugstores (57%) top the list of most popular retailer loyalty rewards programs (February, 2017)"
  • "Consumers most dislike programs that: Require too much spending to reach the next level of status (45%); Rewards expire before they can be used (43%); and Rewards that are hard to use due to restrictions (34%) (February, 2017)"
  • "While Retirees belong to the fewest number of programs, 5.8 on average, they are more likely to be members of Travel programs (45%) compared to Millennials (25%) and Gen X’ers (28%). Retirees also rated Points for free merchandise or travel as one of the top reasons they join loyalty programs (51%) compared to 34% of Millennials and Gen X’ers (February, 2017)"
  • "Women belong to an average of 7.6 programs compared to 5.9 for men. Membership for women is significantly higher for: Grocery stores (73% vs. 54%), Drugstores (69% vs. 47%), Dept stores (43% vs. 29%), Fast casual (32% vs. 22%), Discount retailer (32% vs. 21%), Apparel (20% vs. 12%) (February, 2017)"
  • "Reward membership has tremendous influence on where people shop (66%); eat (56%); and how they travel (50%) (May, 2016)"
  • "Points accumulated for free merchandise or travel and automatic discounts at time of purchase are the top reasons (47% and 41% respectively) for signing up for a rewards program (May, 2016)"
  • "Nearly 60% of consumers belong to Grocery Store and Credit Card rewards program and use them at least once every three months. Gen Xers have the highest participation rates in Hotel rewards programs (39% compared to 28% of the general population) (May, 2016)"
  • "29% of Millennials rated “too many programs to keep track of” as one of their top three things they dislike about rewards programs. Compared to 17% of Gen X’ers and 20% of Boomers (May, 2016)"
  • "Rewards programs drive payment behavior. 38% indicated the main reason they use their card over cash is because of the amount of cash they have on hand, but 25% use cards for the rewards program (September, 2015)"
  • "Top reasons to join a loyalty rewards program are: Automatic discounts at time of purchase (46%); Free shipping (44%); Points for free travel or merchandise (39%); and Members only discounts (39%) (February, 2017)"
  • "One in four consumers belongs to a coalition loyalty program which allows them to earn and redeem rewards across a variety of retailers or restaurants. Similarly, 43% of consumers report they would shop more frequently with retailers or restaurants who are part of a coalition loyalty program (February, 2017)"
  • "Millennials have the lowest participation in Drugstore (45%) and Department Store (30%) loyalty programs compared to other generations and belong to the second lowest average number of programs at 6.2 (February, 2017)"
  • "Women rated benefits such as Automatic discounts at purchase (51%); Free shipping (50%); and Members only discounts (44%) significantly higher than men in reasons for joining loyalty programs (February, 2017)"
  • "Consumers indicated that their membership also influences the frequency of store visits where they can use rewards (65%) as well as typical spend during each shopping trip (53%) (May, 2016)"
  • "Top complaints that rewards members have about the programs include: “Amount of spending required to reach a reward” (43%); “Points expire before they can be used” (36%); and “Hard to use rewards because of the restrictions” (33%) (May, 2016)"

Payment methods

Mobile payments

  • Tap-and-go: Be their line-buster. No long checkout process. For them, mobile payments and options are very real, now.
  • Using a mobile phone to save money while shopping is becoming widely used. 47% of consumers use a phone to redeem coupons or get discounts while shopping in-store while 46% use their phone while in-store to compare prices (July, 2016)
  • In addition to purchases, Millennials rely on their mobile phones to make their shopping experience more convenient overall. They are the most likely to use their mobile phones while on the go, even compared to Gen X’ers for: Buy online/Pick up in store (52% vs. 38%), Buy online/Return to store (44% vs 21%), Compare prices while in store (74% vs 56%), Compare reviews while in store (65% vs 49%) (February, 2017)
  • 44% of respondents who have not made a purchase with a mobile phone at a retail location do not believe it provides any advantage over tradition payment methods. 21% don’t understand how it works and 21% don’t believe it is secure (December, 2016)
  • 20% of consumers indicated a reason they don’t use mobile payments is because the retailers they shop at don’t accept it (December, 2016)
  • Users are early adopters of technology and think about mobile payment’s benefits including: Speed and efficiency, Convenience and ease of use (simple checkout process), Hassle free (no heavy bags or cumbersome wallets) (May, 2016)
  • The biggest concern for those that don't use mobile payment is security, especially women 25-34 yrs old. Specifically, they are concerned about: Losing their phone and compromising their financial information, Moments of vulnerability such as Wi-Fi, transmitting credit card info, etc., Store is hacked. (May, 2016)
  • Education is key for attracting those not using mobile payments. Non-users mention a lack of understanding about how Mobile Payments work with some believing Mobile Payments means online shopping (especially women and those age 55+). Non-users are happy with the way they currently make purchases, so they don’t see any benefits to change. (May, 2016)
  • It’s no surprise that Millennials (46%) and GenXers (41%) are the heaviest users of mobile payments and use it more frequently (February, 2016)
  • Mobile payment users wish they could use it at more locations (75%), but the availability of mobile payments has a relatively lower influence on store selection (February, 2016)
  • While the majority of users have had a positive experience using mobile payments (73%), many express frustration with cashiers (60%), terminals (65%) and the variation in the process by retailer (57%) (February, 2016)
  • Women are more likely to express some dissatisfaction with the mobile payments process compared to men. 66% of women believe the process is confusing because it changes from retailer to retailer, compared to 49% of men (February, 2016)
  • Among consumers who are not interested in mobile payments, 84% of women said because it is unsafe, compared to 61% of men (February, 2016)
  • 40% of participants have used a mobile phone to make a purchase while at a retail location. 58% prefer using a mobile wallet and 38% prefer in app payments specific to the retailer (December, 2016)
  • One in five respondents indicated that retailers they shop at don’t offer a mobile payment option (December, 2016)
  • One in five consumers don’t understand how mobile payments work and don’t believe it to be secure (December, 2016)
  • "Users feel annoyed and embarrassed when mobile payments don’t work. Other barriers and frustrations include: Tech glitches, Uninformed employees, Inconsistent availability, Security concerns (May, 2016)
  • Participants agreed that mobile payments will become widespread in the future— transforming the way people shop. (May, 2016)
  • Both users and non-users of mobile payments are concerned about security, but different messages should be used for each audience. Security is less of an issue for users, but they still need to be reassured that mobile payments are safe. Non-users still need to be convinced that mobile payments are safe to help eliminate the lack of trust (May, 2016)
  • 28% of survey respondents have used a mobile device to pay at a retail location, with 12% of those using it to pay regularly (February, 2016)
  • Usage of mobile payments is consistent between Males (29%) and Females (28%) (February, 2016)
  • Three-quarters of mobile payment users believe it is faster than traditional cards and nearly two-thirds believe it is a safer way to pay (February, 2016)
  • 72% of respondents indicated they have NOT yet used a mobile device to pay at a retail location. Of those, 38% are not interested, primarily because they don’t think it is safe. 23% of respondents indicated they are interested, however, many are still tr

Gift cards

  • 41% of respondents most prefer to receive restaurant gift cards followed by those from Big Box retailers (13%) (March, 2016)
  • Gift card malls (36%) and directly from the retailer in-store (31%) are the most preferred places to purchase gift cards (March, 2016)
  • If not visible on the counter, 65% of respondents would ask a retailer if they offered gift cards (March, 2016)
  • 34% of respondents indicated that buying gift cards online was their preferred purchase method. According to GiftCard.com, online gift card sales are growing 29% per year compared to 6% for traditional gift cards. (March, 2016)
  • While only 42% of respondents have stored a gift card on a mobile phone, 73% indicated they are likely to do so in the future. Those who aren’t likely are mostly concerned about redemption issues at the retail location. (March, 2016)
  • Christmas and Birthdays are the most popular occasion to give or receive gift cards (96%) followed by Graduations and Weddings (47%) (March, 2016)
  • Carriers are not an important consideration when purchasing a gift card (43% of respondents saying carriers are somewhat or very unimportant) (March, 2016)
  • "Card Design and offering Occasion Specific cards are not top considerations, but they are somewhat important to nearly half of the respondents (March, 2016)"
  • 73% of women agree that cashiers are unfamiliar with mobile payments, compared to 50% of men who agree (February, 2016)

P2P

  • 44% of consumers have used a P2P service to send or receive money, with PayPal being the most popular service (37% have used it). (August, 2017)
  • 62% of users believe P2P is a faster way to send/receive money, while 57% indicated it is more convenient or easy compared to other methods. (August, 2017)
  • Three-quarters of current users would stop using P2P services if there were a fee. (August, 2017)
  • Of those consumers who have never used P2P payments, 55% indicated they don’t have the need or prefer other ways to send/receive money, while 20% indicated that they don’t think it is safe. (August, 2017)
  • Half of the consumers would prefer a P2P service from their primary financial institution compared to 22% who prefer a third party such as PayPal or Venmo. (August, 2017)
  • Millennials use P2P an average of twice per month. (August, 2017)
  • 97% of consumers have heard of PayPal P2P service compared to 79% for Google Wallet and 57% for Apple Pay Cash. (August, 2017)
  • Females (58%) indicated they like P2P (A lot/Somewhat) compared to 44% of males. (August, 2017)
  • Transferring money to/from family (53%) and Paying for purchases to a person selling online (52%) are top uses for P2P payment services. (August, 2017)
  • More than half (52%) of P2P users feel that having to transfer funds from their P2P account to their financial institution is inconvenient. (August, 2017)
  • 77% of current users believe P2P is a safer way to send or receive money while 42% of non-users think it is a hassle to set up. (August, 2017)
  • Only 14% of non-users are likely to use a P2P service in the next 12 months. (August, 2017)
  • Substantially more Millennials (66%) have used P2P compared to Gen Xers (50%), Boomers (36%) and Retirees (17%). (August, 2017)
  • 32% of Millennials use P2P to split costs with others compared to 19% of Gen Xers and 7% of Boomers. (August, 2017)
  • 58% of P2P users indicated they use more than one service, primarily to match the P2P service the other individual is using (55%). (August, 2017)
  • Read the entire P2P report here