Consumers Tend To Research Pricier Items In-Store, But Not Always For Showrooming

The more expensive an item, the more likely it is that shoppers will turn to their phones to research it in-store before making a purchase, according to a new study from Columbia Business School and customer loyalty consultancy, AIMIA.

In the data, mobile shoppers were defined as American and Canadian consumers who own a smartphone and have used it for researching a product while in a physical store in the past year.

  • When the price of an item was over $US100, 58% of respondents said they regularly research the purchase in-store.
  • Further, the majority of in-store shoppers report almost always using their mobile devices to search for information on items over $US500 dollars.
  • Even for items under $US50, nearly a third of shoppers (27%) say that they almost always undertake online research while in-stores.

While the behaviour is prevalent, it isn’t all showrooming. Only 52% of mobile shoppers said they regularly checked the price of items online.

Other research behaviours included checking for info and reviews (50%), and calling or texting a friend (39%).

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The trend isn’t consistent across retail categories. Mobile shoppers are more likely to research electronics and appliances. Nearly 85% of respondents said they occasionally researched these products online within retail locations, while 45% said that they did so frequently.

By contrast, mobile shoppers were far less likely to research health and wellness, automotive, and food and beverages in-store.

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