Updated on Apr 30, 2024
Updates quarterly

Tracking Trends in the Retail Industry

Consumers consistently prefer shopping in stores over online
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Shares of each demographic who said they prefer to shop in stores or online

To help retail and e-commerce brand leaders identify which consumer shopping behaviors are taking hold and which are not, Morning Consult is tracking shifting consumer e-commerce and retail industry trends through a monthly survey of U.S. adults.

Find a more detailed methodology for this tracker below.

Key Takeaways

  • Preference for in-store shopping hit a series high in early 2024, and had been slowly climbing since tracking began in 2021. At the same time, the share of those who prefer online shopping has stayed steady. Preference for the former is driven in particular by older consumers, who over-index compared to the average U.S. adult.

  • More shoppers prefer to make beauty purchases online. Of note are men, 28% of which say they prefer to shop for beauty products online, likely buoyed by a slew of high-profile male celebrity beauty and grooming launches over the last few years.

  • The share of middle-income consumers who prefer buying groceries and household goods online hit a high in early 2024 (21%) and has stayed consistent. Middle-income consumers are more likely than the average adult to say they're willing to pay more for comfort and quality, tapping into the convenience that online grocery shopping offers.

Data Downloads

Pro+ subscribers are able to download the datasets that underpin Morning Consult Pro's reports and analysis. Contact us to get access.

Data file
A sortable XLSX file of survey results among U.S. adults and key demographics
About Pro+
A brief outline of what datasets are included in Morning Consult Pro+

Reasons Consumers Prefer Online and In-Store Shopping

Share of respondents who said they choose to shop in stores or online for the following reasons:
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Consumer Preference for Online Shopping by Category

Share of adults who said they prefer to make purchases online in the following categories:
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Utilization of Fulfillment Channels by Category

Share of adults who used the following fulfillment options when ordering in each category:
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Return Method Used by Purchase Channel

Share of respondents who returned items in the following ways in the last month:
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Source of This Data


The Morning Consult Retail Monthly Trend Tracker relies on data collected through Morning Consult’s proprietary survey research capabilities. The interviews are conducted online, and the data are weighted to approximate a representative sample of U.S. adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race and region. Results from the full survey have a monthly sample size of 2,200 to 4,400 U.S. adults and an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

On April 1, 2022, Morning Consult updated its general population weighting targets for the United States to be more representative of the most recent population data. Historical data has not changed. 

About Morning Consult

Morning Consult is a global decision intelligence company changing how modern leaders make smarter, faster, better decisions. The company pairs its proprietary high-frequency data with applied artificial intelligence to better inform decisions on what people think and how they will act. Learn more at morningconsult.com.

Email [email protected] to speak with a member of the Morning Consult team.