Welcome to Klarna’s Shopping Pulse!

2 years into the pandemic, digital transformation has accelerated, and shoppers have turned online more than ever before. Many retailers have pivoted to evolve their online presence to meet new shopper expectations online. But does this mean physical stores are irrelevant? Not at all. Our research shows physical stores still play an essential role for shoppers. That said, many people anticipate they will shop online even more often in the future.

In this report, you’ll find a pulse check on shopping habits worldwide.

Happy exploring!

Methodology.

Insights from Klarna’s consumer research, conducted in cooperation with Nepa across 13 countries (the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland). The research is conducted quarterly and always includes a minimum of 1,000 respondents in each country. In total, 14,114 consumers participated during Q2 2022 (April-June). The sample sizes are nationally representative, naturally including both Klarna users and non-Klarna users, and have been selected by research agency Nepa.

13 countries

14,114 consumers

150m consumers

400,000 retailers

Online shopping data.
Insights from Klarna’s shopping data. Klarna serves more than 150 million consumers and 400,000 retailers.

Digital transformation in retail.

Online shopping has accelerated amid the pandemic. And there are no signs of the digital transformation slowing down. Shoppers’ preferences for online shopping continue to increase despite restrictions lifting in physical stores worldwide.

Online shopping is on the rise.

Shoppers globally are growing increasingly fond of online shopping. Not surprisingly, many retailers have stepped up their digital offerings during the pandemic. Younger generations prefer the online shopping experience while their older peers are trending in the same direction as they grow increasingly tech-savvy.

Online shopping

is preferred over physical stores by the majority in Sweden and the UK.

Rapid growth

the fastest increasing preference for online shopping is found in Austria, Finland and the Netherlands.

Where shoppers would do most of their shopping if they could choose freely.

The charts below show how shoppers in each country would choose split their shopping between online and in-store. The remaining population has a neutral preference.

Attitudes towards online and physical stores.

Shoppers’ choice heavily depends on whether they are looking to save time and money—or whether they are looking for better social interaction and customer service.

Younger generations think they get better social interaction online to a higher extent. This correlates with being more likely to purchase items seen on social media and attend live shopping events.

Saving time & money

are the 2 main perceived benefits of online shopping.

Better social interaction & service

are the 2 main perceived benefits of in-store shopping.

Physical stores are still the norm for shoppers.

Consumers are still shopping in physical stores more frequently than they are shopping online despite the growing preference for online shopping.

The charts below show the percentage of shoppers in each market who have shopped online and in physical stores respectively at least once a week.

Some categories appear more available online than others.

While some retail categories are shopped more often online, physical stores still see certain product types are bought more often in person. The biggest differences are found across some of the most commonly bought categories, indicating an opportunity for disruption, as online shopping’s main drivers are convenience and the ability to save time.

The charts below show the average percentage of shoppers in each market who have shopped the category online and in physical stores respectively.

Groceries and Pharmaceuticals

are 2 of the most frequently shopped categories in physical stores. The only exception is found in Sweden, where Pharmaceutical products are bought online roughly as often as offline.

Clothing & Shoes

one of the most frequently bought categories, is shopped about as often online as in physical stores in most countries. Younger generations are more likely to have shopped this category more often online than in physical stores across almost all countries.

Traditional offline categories ripe for disruption.

Online shopping means people can access offers from all over the world, regardless of whether they are in a major city or the countryside. Still, some products appear more available than others.

The chart illustrates consumers’ mindset with regards to the extent they prefer to shop online and in physical stores.

Groceries

is the most preferred category to shop in physical stores across all countries and has its highest online shopping preference in the UK, with the US not far behind.

Digital disruption

Groceries, Pharmaceutical products, and Home & Garden, which are the most preferred categories to shop in physical stores, have had the biggest increase in online shopping preference.

Technology investments are a must.

Today’s shoppers are looking for innovative solutions that give them a better shopping experience. These are the main focus areas for online and physical stores according to shoppers themselves.

Frictionless payments

is the most wanted improvement across all countries—both online and in-store.

Personalized service and product recommendations

are next on the wishlist, followed by seamless transition between online and physical stores.

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR)

is currently twice as anticipated for online shopping in the wider population—but US Gen Z’ers stand out by expecting investments to the same extent in physical stores.

Online shopping habits.

Online shopping has evolved into an integral part of retail; it has become a natural part of the everyday life of consumers. Data from Klarna shows when and where shoppers all over the world shop and how their favorite products shift across regions.

The online shopping map.

Select a country in the list below to see where people shop the most online per capita, where online shopping is growing the fastest, and how the most commonly bought products shift across regions. The data is from January 1 – June 30, 2022.

The index for “Favourite Products” is calculated in relation to the national average, and does not necessarily reflect the products that are most often bought overall—but most often in comparison with other regions in the same country.

An average online shopping day.

The most prominent perk of shopping online is how it can be done any time, from any corner of the world. It can be both a time saver and a convenient way of getting access to products not in stock in your local physical store. Most online purchases take place late in the evening, often in the comfort of shoppers’ own homes.

The chart below illustrates how purchases are distributed during an average day. The data is from January 1 – June 30, 2022.

Mornings

are the most popular time to buy for older generations. It is also the peak hours for desktop computers.

Evenings

are the most popular time to shop online in most countries. And this is when mobile shopping increases the most.

Night time

means that the share of mobile phones increase further and that consumers to a higher extent opt for payments methods that don’t require them to type in physical card credentials.

An average online shopping week.

While the way shoppers distribute the purchases during the day is universal, the most common day to shop varies much more clearly across countries.

The chart below illustrates how purchases are distributed during an average week. The data is from January 1 – June 30, 2022.

The pandemic outbreak

immediately caused a shift in consumption patterns all over the world, increasing the share of purchases during weekdays. This effect lasted only a couple of weeks and soon returned to normal.

Sundays

are the preferred days to shop in the Nordics and DACH.

Evolving payment preferences.

Payments are a fundamental part of the shopping experience that continues to evolve with emerging preferences driven by technological innovation.

The rise of Buy Now, Pay Later.

Shoppers all over the world are turning to Buy Now, Pay Later to an increasingly higher extent. In fact, there are only two countries in which shoppers prefer credit cards over Buy Now, Pay Later.

According to the consumers themselves, the main reasons for choosing Buy Now, Pay Later over credit cards are to avoid having an open line of credit and save money, since it’s cheaper compared to credit cards that charge additional fees and interest.

11 out of 13

the preference for Buy Now, Pay Later is higher than credit cards in eleven out of thirteen countries. The only countries in which most shoppers would opt for a credit card over BNPL are Denmark and France.

Try before you buy.

The majority of shoppers are more positive towards online retailers that allow them to receive the goods before they pay. No physical store would require shoppers to deposit a payment before they touch, feel and try the goods, and only reimburse their shoppers a few bank days later if they didn’t end up buying it. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that shoppers turn to retailers that bridge that gap in the online shopping experience—and enable them to turn their sitting rooms into fitting rooms.

Sustainability minded shoppers.

A significant share of shoppers are looking for brands and retailers to act in a more sustainable way. Adhering to this calling can boost businesses from compliance to competitive advantage.

Sustainability minded shoppers actively seek out brands and retailers that share their values.

The importance for brands and retailers to act in an environmentally sustainable way is deemed as important across generations. Younger generations more often take the environmental impact of delivery options into consideration when shopping online, and seek out brands that are ethical and sustainable to a higher extent.

1 in 3

consider it important that brands act in an environmentally sustainable way.

1 in 4

actively seek out brands that are ethical and sustainable.

Top priorities.

The majority of shoppers that take environmental impact into consideration are looking for information that help guide their purchase decision, including both environmental and social impact of the business.

>70%

want retailers to promote fair labor conditions, use recycled or sustainable material in production and actively combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

Transparency is key.

The majority of shoppers that take environmental impact into consideration are looking for information that helps guide their purchase decision. They want more information at product level, about how it was made and the potential environmental and social impacts.

57%

are looking for ways to track their carbon footprint while shopping.

Social shopping on the rise.

Social media and online live shopping events drive increased engagement, discovery, and more informed purchasing decisions—particularly among younger generations.

Digitalization of shopping.

The path to shopping begins in similar patterns according to countries and generations, with search engines (e.g., Google) being the channel of choice for product search. Consumers tend to visit online stores a second time to research their products.

Followers become buyers.

On average, 33% of shoppers have purchased a product after seeing it on social media. And about half of them did it directly from the platform.

Social channels to shopping discovery.

After discovering it on social media, purchasing a product is becoming common in all consumer groups—and especially among younger generations.

Influencers

have a bigger impact than retailers on Gen Z, and the opposite is true for older generations.

Retailers

have a higher impact than influencers in most countries. France and the Netherlands being the only exceptions.

Brands

have the highest biggest following in all countries.

Social media climbers.

Social media has made it easier than ever to discover new trends and items. Shoppers find both inspiration—and shopping opportunities.

TikTok

is more popular than Facebook for Gen Z in every country.

Instagram

is together with Facebook the most popular platform for Millennials in every country, except for Finland, where Youtube has the most impact.

Facebook

is the overall most popular platform for Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers.

Taking the shopping experience to the next level.

Shoppers are looking for innovative online shopping experiences, and are keen to engage with new types of experiences such as livestream shopping.

2x

US shoppers participate the most in livestream shopping events. It’s about twice as common that they have attended an event compared to the global average.

1 in 3

Gen Z’ers and Millennials have participated in a live shopping event in the US.

Benefits of livestream shopping.

The modern online version of teleshopping invites shoppers to engage with their favorite influencers to get inspiration and get access to exclusive discounts.

Inspiration

is the main perceived benefit on a global average. But the sentiment varies across countries, from real-time engagement in the US to access to exclusive discounts in Germany and France, and more informed purchase decisions in the Netherlands.

Innovative formats

like augmented/virtual reality appeal the most to Millennials and Gen Z’ers.

Mobile shopping online and in-store.

As smartphones and tablets continue to take screen time from computers, mobile devices are expected to play a central role in the continued digitalization of retail.

Mobile shopping on the rise.

While most shoppers still prefer traditional desktops or laptops when shopping online, the preference for mobile devices is rising in the countries with the lowest preference at the beginning of the year.

Increasing mobile preference

all countries that have had a recorded preference below 30% in 2021 have shown a clear trend for increasing mobile preference at the expense of computers. France is the only country that currently has a mobile shopping preference lower than 30%.

Majority of mobile shoppers

the US is the only country where the majority of shoppers have a higher preference for mobile devices than computers.

The in-store shopping journey begins online.

Online research, also called “webrooming,” plays an important role throughout the in-store shopping journey. The majority of modern day trips to the mall start online.

The chart below illustrates the percentage of in-store shoppers who usually research online before shopping in physical stores.

Online pre-search

is most prevalent for Clothing & Shoes, and Electronics.

Electronics

stands out as the category researched by at least 8 out of 10 shoppers, across all generations.

Online research is part of the in-store shopping experience.

Smartphones have become ubiquitous for shoppers while they’re in a store. Similar to online, in-store shoppers are also making comparisons for competitive prices and offers, and checking product reviews and testimonials to make sure they’ve found the right product.

The chart below illustrates the share of in-store shoppers who say they use their smartphones to research products when shopping in physical stores.

The most frequent in-store researchers

are found in Australia, Sweden and the US.

Young shoppers

are using their phone in-store more often. Finland is the most prominent example, where this behavior is found with 92% of Gen Z’ers while only 42% of Baby Boomers do the same.

A year from now.

Over the past 2 decades, online shopping has pivoted from something for early adopters and enthusiasts into the preferred way to shop for people all over the world. Technological innovation will continue to marvel and excite, retailers will continue to improve their digital offering, and the digitalization of retail will continue to shape the future of shopping.

Predictions for the future.

There’s still a general belief that the majority of shopping will be done in physical stores in a year’s time—but preferences are quickly shifting.

This chart illustrates the share of shoppers believing they will make the majority of their shopping online or in physical stores respectively.

And that’s that.

Klarna’s Shopping Pulse insights are updated quarterly, so stay tuned for future updates.

Thirsty for more knowledge?

Make sure to check out the other reports available at Klarna Insights.