Retailers have long used the showrooming concept, where consumers spot a product they like in-store and purchase it immediately on a mobile device, as an excuse for diminishing sales.
These same retailers would have you believe that it has been a real thorn in their side for quite some time. Unfortunately for them, new figures from retail research firm, Verdict, disagree with the general consensus held by the UK’s high-street.
Only 2% of the report’s respondents have bought an item online while at a retailer. However, 97% say they shop online at home and 15% at work. Mobile consumers apparently prefer to make purchases on a trusted and secure network.
Verdict’s lead analyst, Patrick O’Brien, went as far as to label showrooming a ‘myth’, hinting that browsing stores is simply part of the new, wider purchasing funnel for consumers.
“Rather than making consumers agnostic about where they make their purchases, smartphones and tablets are used in stores mainly to check prices and product details,” O’Brien said.
“The idea that showrooming customers are wielding their smartphones in stores to purchase from rival retailers en masse is a myth.”
E-commerce to Rise by 50%
More findings from Verdict show how the UK’s e-retail market will grow almost 50% over the next five years until it reaches £50 billion in 2018. Around this particular time, one pound in every seven spent will be made online.
The report, part of a 10,000-person survey, revealed that only 4% more people considered brick and mortar shopping to be more enjoyable than online, a gap that’s lowered since the 25% recorded 18 months ago.
One demographic is already finding online shopping more entertaining that physical shopping. According to Verdict, the male 35-54 age bracket now prefer internet purchasing, suggesting shops have their work cut out to halt the changing tide.
The Death of Desktop
O’Brien described how online spend was not being pushed outdoors because of mobile and tablet adoption rates. Instead, it was simply moving elsewhere in the consumer’s house and away from the traditional desktop computer.
“67% said they shopped from their living room, indicating that second screening – browsing websites while watching TV – has had a major impact,” O’Brien said.
“This, together with the ability to browse on smartphones wherever you are, and social media, has made online shopping a much more immersive and interactive experience than it was only a few years ago.”