Passive data collection

GDPR-safe collection of digital lifestyle data, including e-commerce customer journeys

eshopper segmentation using passive data collection

Project: US eShopper segmentation

Project Design: Jason Brownlee, Colourtext

Data sources: Passive data collection using passive metering technology


Passive metering technology allows us to analyse modern digital lifestyles and eShopper trends in granular detail. We have access to thousands of online panel members who have explicitly agreed to install our passive data collection app on their mobile and desktop devices in major markets like the US and UK.

Before Covid Amazon's appeal to eShoppers was making life tough for retailers that depended on physical store visits to drive their trade. But the pandemic lockdowns have effectively forced most retail brands to accelerate their transition to the world of e-commerce.

This means it's more important than ever to understand online shopping behaviour. With this in mind Colourtext has used passive metering technology to undertake a market segmentation of eShoppers in the US. 

We collected and analysed every click made by 3,500 U.S. eShoppers on their mobile and desktop devices over a 6 week period. This huge volume of 'clickstream' behavioural data was collected via our GDPR-compliant passive metering technology.

We then matched the clickstream data with responses to a follow-up online survey that was completed by 2,000 of the eShoppers that took part in our passive metering exercise. The survey data yielded a wealth of attitudinal and perception data that we used to interpret eShopping behaviour patterns within the clickstream data.

This major source of combined data reveals e-commerce behaviour in minute detail. It contains thousands of path-to-purchase instances where people research products, abandon carts and complete purchases. This behaviour is contextualised by information about age, gender, income levels and content consumption profiles that influence online shopping habits.

The following eShopper segmentation illustrates the passive collection data we can provide in the US, UK and several other major markets. Retailers and brand owners can use it to create e-commerce strategies and optimise performance marketing campaigns. To learn more or request a quotation for a running passive metering project please drop us an email.

Case study

The US consumers that took part in our eShopper segmentation study are rewarded for participating in our 'always on' passive metering panel, which collects click-by-click device interactions on an ongoing basis. Panelist data is carefully screened to maintain individual anonymity and is fully GDPR compliant.

The passive metering technology enables us to collect data on the web browsing and app usage habits of consumers, including e-commerce customer journey paths. When we combine this data with accurate demographic profiling and survey questionnaire responses we discover new insights into the customer motivations and need states that lead to a purchase decision.

The graphic below illustrates the data sample for our study.



This blended dataset of behaviour and opinion formed the basis of the market segmentation. We used our proprietary network-based algorithms to identify 6 distinctive eShopper personas within the US, which are summarised below.



For the sake of brevity we'll focus on just one of the eShopper personas to illustrate what passive metering data reveals, paying particular attention to this group's relationship with Amazon.

Live for Today - 14.1% of the US population


These guys are family orientated, career minded and tend to be fairly liberal (but with a small ‘L'). They love mainstream pop culture, looking good and entertaining at home. They consider themselves to be pretty funny, creative, optimistic and ambitious.

They practically live online and are heavy users of social media. They tend to prefer apps on mobile devices rather than web browsing and their main online activities include streaming video, sharing photos and direct messaging.

This group often reads online reviews but can also be highly impulsive online shoppers - they often splash out on stuff they like rather than need. They’re willing to pay extra for better quality but also love to hunt down attractive discount codes.

The passive metering data from this group reveals a very distinctive pattern of eShopper behaviours that e-commerce retailers can optimise for.


Mark Uttley
Group Strategy Director, AKQA, San Francisco, US

"Colourtext always take a fresh approach to discovering hidden patterns in data. Whether you want to conduct segmentation or mine your CRM for deep insights, they will help you see your customers , and what they are seeing , in new ways."

Joaquim Bretcha
International Director of Netquest and President of ESOMAR, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

"Colourtext and Netquest have partnered on different occasions to showcase the power of the digital behavioural data extracted from Netquest’s consumer panel. Colourtext has not only the expertise of dealing with big datasets but also has brilliant creativity to make the most sense out of them. Working with Colourtext is a rich, agreeable and easy going experience"

Mark Barber MBE
Planning Director, RadioCentre, London, UK

"More than a decade of success for Radiog auge across the world is a testament to Colourtext’s experience and perseverance. There are many obstacles to creating a global currency for measuring radio advertising effectiveness - Colourtext has managed to tackle all of them."

"It’s rare to find research companies that really understand the unique radio / listener relationship and what makes radio advertising work. With experience of researching the medium on both sides of the fence, Colourtext is one of those rare companies."

Simone Lawrence
Director of Insights, Canadian Broadcast Sales, Toronto, Canada

Colourtext has an agile approach to research that ensures a successful outcome to every challenge CBS gives them. The depth of experience and understanding the Colourtext team brings to each study demonstrates their value in the audio space. We have a very positive nine year working relationship behind us that has created significant value for CBS and our clients. We remain committed to working with Colourtext in the coming years.

Jon Puleston
Vice President of Innovation, Kantar Profiles, London, UK

It's rare to find a partner with the mix of analytical, technological and creative skills offered by Colourtext. Jason and his team seem to roam around freely in data, find the stories that matter and bring a distinctive aesthetic vision to the presentation of information.