According to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers in September 2014, brick-and-mortar retail remains popular with consumers. The study found that 70% of Internet shoppers still visited store locations at least once a month to make their purchases. Of these shoppers, half reported visiting brick-and-mortar stores even more regularly than that.
The study found that online shoppers still used a variety of additional channels to make their purchases in varying frequencies. Those who shopped in-store reported the following:
- Daily – 8%
- Weekly – 28%
- Monthly 34%
- Few times per year – 24%
- Yearly or never – 5%
While respondents were asked about a variety of other channels – mobile and smartphone, catalog, online via tablet, wearables and TV shopping – the only other channel that provided strong regular shopping results was online via PC:
- Daily – 3%
- Weekly – 17%
- Monthly – 34%
- Few times per year – 34%
- Yearly or never – 11%
Shopular, a mobile app, asked US Internet users in December whether they might change their shopping behavior in the coming year. More than 63% of respondents said they’d do the bulk of their shopping in physical locations in 2015, while only 34% planned to do as much as possible online.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers study went on to ask worldwide Internet users why they still preferred brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping and found that:
- 60% wanted to see, touch and try the merchandise prior to purchase
- 53% wanted their purchases immediately
- 33% believed they could better evaluate whether the item was a good fit
- 25% didn’t like buying perishable items online
- 22% cited the ease of returns
- 20% liked the swift delivery
It also bears mention that 13% of Internet shoppers simply preferred the atmosphere provided by their local retailers, while an additional 13% liked the idea of supporting businesses within their communities. Getting the lowest price from brick-and-mortar retailers was only a factor for 12% of respondents.
Of the worldwide Internet users who planned to do more of their shopping online, it was the perks and convenience that largely won them over. The ability to get lower prices online was a reported motivator for 56%, while round the clock shopping was appealing to 46% of respondents. The study also found that many respondents enjoyed the enhanced ability to comparison shop that Internet retailers provide.
Although brick-and-mortar retailers may be unable to compete with the 24/7 shopping experience Internet retailers provide, they still have significant opportunities to improve consumer experience in-store. The primary areas for change include offering more competitive pricing and giving in-store associates the tools necessary to check inventory levels on those items that are out of stock in their location.
eMarketer.com Here’s Why Consumers Still Prefer Brick-and-Mortar. March 2, 2015.