‘Showrooming’ Increases In-store Sales

Market research firm Deloitte has recently completed a study that focuses on the use of smartphones for consumers in the US.

The research predicts that more than 5 percent of store sales during 2012 will be in some way influenced by smartphones, rising to 19 percent by 2016. Purchases made directly on mobile devices will have reached beyond the $30 billion mark by this time, the report says.

The report, ‘The Mobile Influence Factor in Retail Sales,’ observed activities such as product research conducted by shoppers on their mobile devices, price comparisons, as well as other application usages and purchasing behaviours.

Up til now, many retailers have expressed concern that the appearance of smartphones in-store is reducing their sales potential, as these consumers were assumedly less likely to purchase from that retailer if they had access to easy price comparisons and product alternatives in the palm of their hands. However, this survey shows that this belief is likely to be a fallacy, with smartphone shoppers being 14 percent more likely to purchase in-store than non-smartphone users.

“Mobile devices’ influence on retail store sales has passed the rate at which consumers purchase through their devices today,” said Alison Paul, Vice Chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail and Distribution Sector Leader. “Consumers’ store-related mobile activities are contributing to – not taking away from – in-store sales, and our research indicates that smartphone shoppers are 14 percent more likely to convert and make a purchase in the store than non-smartphone users. This means that mobile is an important tool for retailers to incrementally drive traditional in-store sales, strengthening the relationship between retailer and consumer to increase engagement and loyalty.”

Other key statistics on in-store smartphone behaviour:

  • 48% of smartphone owners say their phone has influenced a decision to purchase in-store
  • 37% used third-party mobile shopping applications, while 34 percent used a retailer’s mobile app
  • 67% of users between 14 and 34 years of age have used their smartphones for shopping

Previous efforts from companies like Amazon to introduce applications that target showrooming consumers specifically may still have some effect to draw a few shoppers into online purchases. However, this study from Deloitte shows that the overwhelming trend is that consumers will still purchase in-store while its convenient to do so. Rather, the use of a mobile device is more important for research purposes and, in many cases, increases the likelihood of consumers purchasing on the sales floor.

This is good news for bricks-and-mortar businesses, but plenty of work is still required in order to maintain these kinds of customers. The modern shopper is becoming increasingly savvy and thrifty, meaning that retailers need to work harder than ever to introduce methods of capturing and engaging with a regular audience.

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