For Business

The 5 newest trends in shopper behavior

From non-linear purchasing to checkout experiences and social commerce, we’re tuning in and responding to the needs of today’s shoppers.


Finding new ways to engage shoppers can get overwhelming. From understanding their exact preferences and decision-making process to catering to the latest trends, it can feel like an exercise in clairvoyance and a whole lot of costly guesswork.

While scientists haven’t yet built mind-reading tools, we can offer the next best thing: advice from industry experts on how to respond to the diverse needs of today’s shoppers.

Who are today’s consumers and what do they want?

According to Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s The Future Shopper report, the majority of shoppers are demanding their experiences be improved, journeys compressed, and values embraced:

  • 62% of the global shoppers surveyed wish that online shopping was more entertaining.
  • 80% want to get from inspiration to purchase as quickly as possible.
  • 61% like to shop with brands and retailers with a purpose that goes beyond just selling.

Shoppers are looking for fresh products and services that meet their needs. In a Harvard Business Review article, researchers from Michigan State University discovered that 80% of respondents said they’d “try a new brand if they thought it could help them achieve their goals.”

Experts from NielsenIQ also found that “48% of global consumers plan to buy more from smaller brands in the future” and “78% of consumers surveyed say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them.”

For many shoppers, personalization and equity are important. A Black beauty consumer told McKinsey Quarterly: “There is heightened sensitivity around hair and skin because we were previously excluded [from these product categories]. It’s such a personal and emotional experience and relationship that we have with the industry.”

In fact, McKinsey researchers estimate that “addressing racial inequity in the beauty industry is a $2.6 billion opportunity.”

What do these numbers mean for merchants like you? Let’s look at these trends in more detail:

1. Value-based shopping is on the rise.
Whether shopping for a health-conscious items, products not tested on animals, or plastic-free delivery, some of today’s consumers actively seek out brands that align with their position on the environment or other important social issues.

“Shoppers do a lot of research and will notice a surface-level brand with a fake sustainability certification,” says Reece Dano, UX Research Principal at Amazon. “Merchants have to be transparent about sourcing and partners, and really convey the sincerity of their shared values.”

2. Personalization and community are important.
For many consumers from marginalized communities, a sense of belonging and recognition really matters.

For merchants this means building a community around a brand, finding like-minded people and bringing them together not as customers but as community members.

“The question in shoppers’ minds isn’t just ‘what’s right for me?’” explains Kevin Petway, Senior UX Researcher Amazon. “It’s ‘what’s perfectly right for me?’ This means personalization. Community can be defined in many different ways, and brands can differentiate themselves by fostering a sense of belonging.”

An example of a brand creating a community around its products is Reflections by Zana, which strives for workplace representation for Black healthcare workers in their accessories.

3. Convenience is key.
“Meeting shoppers where they are, whichever channel that may be, has grown in importance,” Petway says. “Shoppers have more choices than ever, and their expectations for convenience are continuing to rise.”

Catering to the expectation of convenience means listing products anywhere and everywhere your customers are. It also means exploring increased visibility in Google search results and on forums like Reddit.

4. It’s about trust: Safety, quality, and social proof.
“From the very first glance on your site, you’ve got to build trust,” Dano says. “Does your site look legit and polished? Are there typos? Is your payment method familiar and safe? Are you supported by a well-known brand like Amazon?”

For consumers, support from or association with an established brand equates with trust—if the brand’s site has a Buy with Prime badge or Amazon Pay as a checkout option, for example, it can help give shoppers peace of mind.

Similarly, leaning into social proof can help build trust. When making a decision whether to shop on your site, customers are likely to vet your products through social media, search for reviews from other shoppers on Reddit or, or scout for your partnerships with bigger, well-known brands.

Learn how Reviews from Amazon can help your business to stand out.

5. Research first, then compare, then shop.
Shoppers prefer to do their shopping after researching products and comparing them to offerings from multiple brands. Evaluating a similar product from several sites—switching between browser tabs or mobile apps—is now a norm.

“Find out which questions shoppers are asking about your products,” Dano says, “Then answer them truthfully on your site, noting the benefits and making it more appealing to buy from you rather than your competitors.”

All of these trends can help describe your shoppers, but now to the most important tip.

How to get to know your customers?

Whether they are bargain hunters, mission-driven, educated, or loyal—find out who your customers are. Knowing the types of shoppers that frequent your site can help you understand their needs, how to engage them, and help drive more sales.

Buy with Prime can help you with this task. Using Buy with Prime, you can build direct relationships with your customers with control of their order data. Learn more.

With the shopper order information you receive, including email addresses, you can use insights to build or strengthen customer relationships and provide support services. For example, you can use surveys in personalized emails to ask them about their needs and shopping habits.

While tapping into changes in shopper behaviors can be challenging, there are three iterative tactics you can start using today. First, start by getting to know your customers. Second, find ways to deliver a better, memorable shopping experience. Finally, build a community around your brand.

If you’re an ecommerce merchant wanting to grow your business by attracting engaged shoppers to your site, learn how Buy with Prime marketing solutions can help. If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up for Buy with Prime today.

Kelby Johnson