Consumers Still Prefer Physical Stores

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Consumers Still Prefer Physical Stores

By Gina Acosta - 10/29/2019
Report: Consumers Still Prefer Physical Stores
The survey found consumers chose to shop in-store over the past 12 months for ease, immediacy and experience.

Despite the rising popularity of ecommerce and delivery, nearly all consumers (99%) shopped in a physical store in the past 12 months, according to new research from Coldwell Banker Commercial and The Harris Poll.

The survey found consumers chose to shop in-store over the past 12 months for ease, immediacy and experience. Details from the survey on why consumers chose to shop in store in the past 12 months include: to purchase a product they needed immediately (61%), experience a product before buying it (55%), browse and get ideas (50%) and take advantage of in-store sales/coupons (49%).

"Consumers still want the experience of in-store retail, and the numbers show they're also looking for personalized assistance," said Daniel Spiegel, managing director of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates. "Retailers can drive people to stores by creating stellar experiences and customer service. I recently went to a new store that was set up like a market with various vendors around the space. Perhaps it's the new department store model. Clearly, there's still a strong desire for in-store shopping, retailers can get more creative with their spaces to attract shoppers."

While consumers are split between online (51%) and physical stores (44%) as their preferred option for buying holiday gifts, more than nine in 10 consumers (92%) do plan to shop in a physical store for gifts this holiday season. The survey found consumers intend to shop in-store this holiday season for specific reasons:

  • To take advantage of sales/coupons (55%)
  • Experience a product before buying it (50%)
  • Look for unique gifts (49%) and to find something specific (49%)

Physical stores are preferred by most consumers for four out of the five polled purchase types. The majority of consumers say physical stores are the most preferred shopping method for major appliances (81%), clothing/accessories (70%), health/beauty products (67%) and home décor (67%). Roughly two in five consumers (44%) prefer physical stores for buying holiday gifts.

More than four in five consumers surveyed (81%) say they feel they are making a positive contribution to their community by shopping in a physical store. Over two-thirds (68%) of consumers say retail therapy is a great way to relieve stress.

Over two-thirds (68%) of consumers say when they shop in a physical store they tend to look for in-store experiences. Half of consumers (50%) say they would sacrifice spending less on a product online in order to get personalized assistance/advice from an in-store sales associate.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates from Sept. 24-26, 2019, among 2,027 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.