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Shoppers Online Begin Showrooming Trend

By | 01.18.13

In the latest report from International Business Machines Corp., a large majority of shoppers had made their latest buys from brick and mortar stores and not on the internet, but that is changing. The study found many consumers are less apt to buy in-store and will be looking to shop more online.

Released on Tuesday, the study states that over 80 percent of shoppers bought their latest purchases from the store, but only about half said they would do so again. The report puts a focus on “showrooming,” in which consumers look at merchandise within the actual store but then go online to make their purchases. Though the study is international, it finds that in the United States 7 percent of the population had acknowledged to already shopping in this manner.

The trend highlights a growing focus on mobile and internet shopping. The study shows that, worldwide, 35 percent of consumers were uncertain about buying online or in a store for their next purchase, but nearly 10 percent were sure they would make their next purchase over the internet. Jill Puleri, of IBM Business Services, notes that almost half of the self-proclaimed “showroomers” were younger shoppers – often males – who were better off than average. “Where do you want to place your bets for the future?” she asked to executives that attended last week’s National Retail Federation Conference.

Store purchases at this time still hold the majority of sales, but the increase of online purchases is growing more online than in the brick and mortar stores. Jill Puleri says these new mostly younger shoppers are, “[N]ot the enemy, far from it. They are your best friends, your advocates.” The IBM study finds that electronics, such as televisions and cellphones, along with luxury items, such as jewelry and high-end clothing, made up the greatest majority of internet purchases. Their study consists of eight categories and was surveyed amongst 26,000 participants. Almost a quarter of the online consumers said they meant to buy in a store but for reasons like price and convenience made their purchases online.

References:

Wohl, Jessica. “In-store shoppers likely to head online next time they buy: IBM.” Tech, Small Business. Reuters. 1/15/13.

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