Consumers are increasingly shopping online, and if you buy into statistics, the number who do so will continue to rise over the next couple of years. A report published earlier this year by Goldman Sachs predicted that the global e-commerce market will surpass $1 trillion by the year 2013, which would mark a 19.4% annual growth rate by the end of the projected year. Consumers are spending more than ever, but for brands, the key to tapping into the shopping frenzy is all in understanding how they shop and knowing how to play the engagement game.

Patterns and Trends in Shopping

Nielsen’s 2011 Global Online Survey uncovered a few patterns and trends in the shopping tendencies of the worldwide population. The study, which consisted of responses from over 25,000 people across 51 countries, provided some very interesting insight into how consumers around the world purchase the items they need and how location plays into their purchasing decisions.According to the report, ordering items online that can actually be delivered instead of picked up is a big thing in Asia Pacific. The findings show that 77% of respondents in the region are likely to take this option when making purchases. This trend is much less of a phenomenon in North America and Europe where it was embraced by just 20% and 35% of respondents respectively. In this particular case, analysts have concluded that the huge gap has to do with the fact that consumers in Asia Pacific have access to fewer stores and are thus more dependent on internet shopping destinations.

Intriguing patterns were also spotted in the area of grocery shopping. In Africa and the Middle East, 48% of respondents reported to shopping online for groceries so they can have those items delivered. Again, this is due to having a fewer number of physical stores. Consumers in North America reported the need to stock up on essential items as the main reason to travel to a grocery store, but the reasoning was quite varied among consumers across the globe. The research shows that size of household, gas prices and access to refrigeration are some of the factors that weigh into the grocery shopping patterns of global consumers.

Savings Rock!

Consumers have always jumped at the opportunity to save money, but you can say savings are even sexier now that the coupon craze of daily deal sites have gone mainstream. The Global Online Survey conducted by Nielsen reiterated just how important coupons and bargains in general are to shoppers throughout the world.According to Nielsen’s findings, coupons are used by more consumers in North America than people in any other continent, with the United States having the most usage. The research shows that roughly 80% of households in the U.S. use manufacturer-issued coupons at all the retail stores they shop at. Coupons are also big in Asia Pacific, where they were used by 55% of respondents. The report revealed that coupons are strongest in China and Hong Kong, where usage was at 67% and 65% respectfully.

In what may be surprising news to some, Nielsen’s research exposed the fact that the coupon trend has not necessarily taken off all over the world, particularly in Latin America and the Middle East/Africa region. Just 25% of respondents in Latin America reported to using coupons, while the percentage for consumers in the Middle East and Africa was even lower at 18% combined. A rep from Nielsen said that consumers in these areas prefer to reap their savings through sales and promotions, as opposed to coupons.

Nielsen’s study on global shopping provided an in-depth view of how consumers the world over prefer to spend (and save ) money both on and offline. Above all, it is another research effort that underlines the importance of knowing what your target audience wants, and tailoring your strategy to create an experience that accommodates their preferences.