In its 2014 Future of Retail Study, Walker Sands surveyed 1,046 U.S. consumers to gain an understanding of consumer shopping behaviors in an effort to help retailers anticipate what consumers want most in 2014 and going forward.

According to the study, online shopping is quickly becoming the norm amongst most consumers. In fact, less than 1 percent of consumers surveyed stated that they shop in brick-and-mortar stores exclusively, meaning they never go online to shop. On the contrary, the majority of consumers (62 percent) said they shop online at least once a month. Those numbers are not surprising with free shipping and other enticing offers designed to lure shoppers away from the stores. In other words, online retailers are striving to make the shopping experience so seamless that you hardly notice you’re not in a physical store.

Other key findings of the study are as follows:

  • Consumer electronics, books and clothing top the list of the most common types of products purchased online in the last year.
  • 95 percent of shoppers surveyed said they have purchased from Amazon in the past year. They also stated there were just a few product categories they would not feel comfortable purchasing from Amazon.
  • Free and expedited shipping are top drivers for shopping online.
  • Consumers want a seamless shopping experience in-store and online, meaning if they find a product at a lower price online than in the store, they expect the retailer to honor the lower price.
  • 12 percent of consumers expect a personalized experience in-store as well as online.
  • Three in five consumers engage with brands on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Consumers are moving away from paying with/carrying cash toward more convenient alternatives, like credit and debit cards.
  • Consumers are open to new retail experiences, like 3D printing. Nearly 70 percent said they would consider purchasing clothing made from a 3D printer. Forty-six percent said they’d consider renting vs. buying products. Popular items that consumers prefer to rent are books, consumer electronics and tools.


Patrick, Tory and Santoro, Mike. “2014 Future of Retail Study”.