FullStory Second Annual U.S. Digital Experience Survey Reveals Consumer Behavior Shifts Due To Inflation

Americans are more positive about their online experiences this year vs. lastbut brands are vulnerable as frustrations and price sensitivity abound

FullStory, the leader in Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI), released the results of its second annual Digital Experience Consumer Survey. The study finds that consumers, who shifted to digital in record numbers during the pandemic, are now transacting online less frequently and changing their behavior in a wide variety of ways in light of inflation.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans report that they have cut back on purchases, and a majority (51%) are researching online more carefully before they buy. Despite fewer digital interactions, frustrations remain prevalent. The majority of survey respondents (55%) have experienced a digital issue or glitch in the past six months, threatening sentiment and sales. Three in four consumers (75%) are likely to abandon a transaction when they experience a digital experience issue, highlighting the ability of a glitch or bug to quickly unravel hard-won brand preference and loyalty.

“Brands need to support consumers in making more considered purchases–and they have fewer chances to get it right today versus just a few months ago,” said Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, CMO of FullStory. “With market dynamics in flux, digital experience success depends on paying close attention to actual consumer behavior in real time, questioning assumptions, and addressing the unknown unknowns in order to drive engagement and sales.”

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Additional study findings include:

Consumer behavior shifts again in 2022

With in-store shopping and travel back in swing and inflation rising, consumer behavior this year looks much different than last.

  • 33% of consumers transact online at least once a day in 2022–a decline of 8 percentage points from 2021.
  • In addition to researching more carefully online, consumers currently use coupons and discount codes (42%) and switch to lower-priced or discount brands (33%) to combat inflation.
  • Buy-Now-Pay-Later financing is the least popular tactic for combating inflation, with only 13% of consumers opting for it.

Rage clicks and digital frustrations remain common and costly

The study finds that a variety of issues continue to plague the digital experience, compromising trust and sales.

  • More than 60% of Americans report that they have repeatedly clicked or tapped (rage-clicked) in frustration on a site or app.
  • Nearly six in 10 (55%) are unlikely to return to a site or app after experiencing a struggle or frustration.
  • The top issues that cause consumers to leave a site or app include: page too slow to load (57%); broken links (47%); buttons don’t work (38%); broken forms (38%).
  • A majority of consumers (54%) said they trust a brand less after they experience a digital issue.

Digital improves, but excellence elusive

While consumers report that industries have improved digital experiences this year over last, work is still required to move from mediocre to great experiences.

  • On a scale from one to five, consumers ranking experiences a three or higher increased an average of 18 percentage points across industries.
  • However, consumers rating their experiences a five out of five increased only four percentage points.
  • The top three industries with the most consumers rating their digital experiences as excellent are banking (30%), healthcare (22%) and retail (21%).
  • The bottom three industries when it comes to digital experience excellence are quick-service restaurants/QSR (13%); airlines (15%) and grocery (16%).

Retail is a bright spot

The study finds that when it comes to discretionary income, consumers are least likely to cut back on retail purchases.

  • With back to-school and early holiday shopping ahead, a full two out three Americans (65%) state they plan to purchase the same or more at retailers in the next three months.
  • While travel has been popular of late, the data suggests consumers may curb spending here in coming months, as respondents cited hotels, airlines, and sit-down dining as the top places where consumers are cutting back instead.
  • Nine in 10 consumers (91%) rate their online retail experience three or higher–the highest of all verticals surveyed.

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