High gasoline prices are starting to have an effect on consumer shopping behavior. A survey of online buyers conducted by comparison shopping site Shopzilla.com reveals that 40% of consumers have increased their online buying as a result of high gas prices-15% saying they are shopping online a lot more to avoid burning gasoline going to stores and 25% saying somewhat more. The balance-60%-said their shopping habits have not changed.
The nationwide average price of a gallon of gasoline reached $3.01 last week, a record, both in absolute terms and adjusted for inflation, reports the Lundberg Survey, which has tracked gasoline prices for over 30 years. That price was up 38 cents in just two weeks, when the previous high price was set at $2.63 a gallon. The average price has gone up $1.15 in the past year.
Shopzilla’s survey reflects the results of a consumer survey last spring by consultants Retail Forward Inc. While it did not specifically ask about online shopping, Retail Forward’s ShopperScape survey asked consumers if they had changed their shopping behavior as the result of rising gas prices. 67% said they were changing their behavior, with the adjustments spanning a range of options. For instance, 35% said they are shopping at stores closer to home and 44% said they are organizing their shopping trips to be more efficient. “Gas prices are having an impact on all their shopping,” says Nick McCoy, senior consultant of Retail Forward. “Higher gas prices have to lead to more online shopping.”
Shoppzilla surveyed 1,622 consumers on Sept. 6.