Mobile Commerce

Is Webrooming The New Showrooming?

In the struggle between online and in-store shopping, the advantage has shifted to bricks-and-mortar retailers, according to GfK’s 2014 FutureBuy shopping habits study — at least in the U.S.

Customers reporting that they engaged in “showrooming” — seeing a product in-store, then buying it online from another retailer using a smartphone — dropped to 28 percent in 2014 from 37 percent last year. Meanwhile, “webrooming” — buying in-store after researching online using a smartphone — was reported by 41 percent of U.S. respondents in the survey.

U.S. shoppers said buying in-store was motivated by seeing and feeling products before buying (important to 58 percent of shoppers who prefer in-store, versus 9 percent who prefer online), getting products sooner (53 percent versus 16 percent), and hassle-free returns (35 percent versus 10 percent). Shoppers who preferred buying online cited reasons including saving money (61 percent of online customers versus 28 percent in-store), ease of shopping (53 percent versus 24 percent) and better selection (46 percent versus 16 percent). That shift toward instant gratification could signify an improved economy, BetaNews reported.

The GfK survey also found that U.S. customers who shopped online using a PC or laptop dropped from 78 percent to 63 percent in the past year, while those saying they used smartphones doubled from 8 percent to 15 percent, and tablet shoppers also doubled from 5 percent to 10 percent.

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