Commentary

30% to Holiday Showroom, 45% to Search Online Before Heading to Store

Showrooming may be somewhat alive over the holiday shopping seasons but more people are likely to research online before heading to the store.

While fewer than a third (30%) of consumers are expected to showroom over the holidays, almost half (45%) plan to go online to check out a product before purchasing it in a physical store, according to a new study.

The Harris poll comprised two components, a survey of 2,042 nationally representative U.S. adults and a survey of an additional 2,098 in the top 10 American markets by population.

More than a third (36%) say they will neither check online nor go to a store and then purchase an item elsewhere, typically by phone or PC (showrooming).

We know from other studies that many shoppers in stores actively use their phones while shopping, and in most cases rather than dealing with people who work there, as I wrote about here recently (58% of Mobile Shoppers Prefer Phones Over Salespeople).

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An interesting tidbit in the Harris study is a breakdown of the type of retailer from which consumers plan to purchase which items.

So-called big box stores, like Target and Best Buy, are the top consumer choices to purchase a number of products. Here’s a breakdown of what products consumers plan to get from those large stores:

  • 49% -- Large household appliances
  • 47% -- Small household appliances
  • 35% -- Desktop or laptop computer
  • 35% - -Personal electronics
  • 29% --Clothing

Meanwhile, retail chains are the leading choice for consumers buying clothing (32%), shoes (32%) and smartphones/cell phones (31%).

Not to be left out, individual stores or small chains will serve more consumers (34%) for groceries, and for books, more consumers (43%) plan to get them online.

No matter the percentages of people searching before, during or after a store shopping trip, the volume will continue to increase, as the number of smartphone users globally reaches almost 2 billion next year, according to the latest figures from eMarketer.

The new shopping reality is that mobile consumers are shopping all the time. Because they can.

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