Showrooming Overhyped, Mobile Key To Shopping Purchases

Monica-HoGiven consumers' mobile in-store shopping trends, some consider the showrooming hoopla overblown. The research process still begins at home on search engines and comparison sites. While just 6% of smartphone users conduct their most recent mobile retail search in a store while shopping, 77% make their purchases in the store they visit.

The xAd and Telmetrics report released Wednesday identifies select categories of shoppers that rely on their phone more often. Consumers looking for electronics use their device 7.1% of the time, compared with groceries at 6.7%, home goods, 6.6%; and apparel, drug and beauty, 4.7%.

The definition of showrooming continues to change.

Last year, people went into stores and searched online to purchase the items at another retailer for less while in a specific store. Now consumers are pulling out their phone to confirm they're getting the best price from the store they're in, according to Monica Ho, vice president of marketing, xAd. She said many more retailers are willing to meet other retail store prices.

"The fear lies in the fact that retailers spend so much money getting consumers in the store from either advertising or marketing on the Web or traditional media, only to lose them when they walk through the store door, Ho said. "We're not seeing the high in-store activity you would think," she said.

About half of mobile users begin their retail shopping on a mobile device, while one in four mobile shoppers rely on their device throughout the purchase process. Some 55% of mobile retail shoppers ultimately make a purchase. Immediacy is important, with more than 30% of smartphone users and 25 percent of tablet users intending to make a purchase within an hour.

One-third of online shopping time has shifted to mobile devices, but the average shopping time is 4.4 minutes on smartphones and 4.5 minutes on tablets versus 9.2 minutes on PCs, according to a study.

Globally, numbers related to showrooming have risen. A study from TSN, part of Kanter, reveals that 33% of people globally showroom, and of those 71% are in Asia, 60% in North America, and 54% in Europe. Some 43% use their phones to read reviews while in stores, 31% to compare prices, 14% to check availability in other stores, and 14% to see if it's easier to order online. 

7 comments about "Showrooming Overhyped, Mobile Key To Shopping Purchases".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, May 23, 2013 at 7:33 a.m.

    Glad to see the hype deflating. I have still *never* seen anyone use a cell phone for showrooming on the Internet, but I often see people a cellphone to discuss purchases with friends and family. Presumably when people "use their device 7.1% of the time", this is almost all talking and nothing that should concern online marketers.

  2. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, May 23, 2013 at 3:57 p.m.

    I have participated in showrooming after getting so frustrated with a sales person that I just pulled out my smartphone and bought the product online while standing in the store. At least I bought the product online at the same store I was in.

  3. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., May 23, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.

    Question for you, Laurie: The study says "77% make their purchases in the store they visit." Do we know anything about the other 23%? Do they all buy somewhere else, or do some of them not buy at all? Do we know where else they buy (online, different retailer, etc.)? Thanks!

  4. Jeremy Geiger from Retailigence, May 25, 2013 at 11:55 p.m.

    Retailigence can definitively confirm that many of the mobile shopper metrics which are reported as evidence of "showrooming," are in fact being classified incorrectly and as a matter of fact, consist of shoppers at HOME or WORK using mobile to find products/brands either online or, increasingly offline AT brick & mortar stores as those retailers get smarter about online visibility. Net Net: Reverse Showrooming!

  5. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, May 26, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.

    Tim, I recently came across this study from Placed that talks about where customers who use showrooming shop when it comes to physical stores. Perhaps it shed some light.

  6. Nick D from ___, May 27, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.

    "Now consumers are pulling out their phone to confirm they're getting the best price from the store they're in"
    In other words, nothing's changed except the retailers' approach. Besides which, the weight of evidence suggests the hype was overblown anyway - consumers were not purchasing items on their phone while in-store, as consumers generally don't like to make purchases on their phones, but prefer to wait until they're at a computer (or possibly tablet).

  7. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., May 27, 2013 at 5:38 p.m.

    Thank you, Laurie! I've downloaded the report and will look it over carefully.

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