Say What?

crop ethnic buyer with plastic card shopping online on laptop

I’ve taken a break from writing the last few weeks and have been reading “A People’s History of the United States” (hey, if it’s good enough for Good Will Hunting, it’s good enough for me!). Getting back to thoughts more suitable for GetThePackages soon but I did come across a really good reminder about the difference between perception and reality; the difference between what we say and what we do.

Most people interested in tech or innovation would guess, without looking it up first, that the majority of commerce these days is happening in a digital capacity. Anecdotally, in asking a few people I got guesses from 60-80%. But the reality is quite different.

Published by Forbes here

The graph above shows the massive disparity between the perception of many of us and the reality. Despite all of the massive growth and investment in online platforms, digital sales are still relatively small compared with traditional “brick and mortar”.

But what’s even more interesting than that is how this contradicts survey information. A recent survey showed that over 55% of the respondents preferred to shop online – nearly 4x what’s happening in reality. Maybe that’s due to the Paradox of Choice, maybe it’s something else? But for innovators, designers and product teams it’s an important reminder that there’s often a difference between what users say they do and what they actually do – a great contradiction to keep in mind when doing product research.

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