Despite a looming retail apocalypse, nearly half of Americans of all ages still do most of their shopping in brick-and-mortars.
That’s according to a poll from our partner, MSN, which also found that 17% of Americans shop mostly online, while 34% shop online and in stores equally.
MSN polls its readers, and then uses machine learning to model how a representative sample of the US would have responded, using big data, such as the Census. It’s nearly as accurate as a traditional, scientific survey.
Interestingly, Americans aren’t shopping in stores for low prices — only 3% say they get better deals there. Rather, they’re trading savings for immediacy: 74% of people who prefer brick-and-mortars are doing it so they “can see and get items right away.” Just 13% say getting help from a person is the biggest advantage of in-store shopping.
What’s more, only 10% are heading to stores to avoid shipping costs. Even with premium membership services like Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping and same-day delivery, it’s clear that many Americans are prioritising instant gratification — holding a product in hand and bringing it home moments later — over potential savings.
For those who prefer online shopping, 41% said it’s more convenient and 24% said they find better deals.
But those shoppers who prefer an in-store experience may not be losing out on too much savings after all. While prices can be cheaper online, that’s not always the case. According to an MIT study covered in the Boston Globe, online prices were lower than in-store prices 22% of the time. Ultimately, major US retailers “charge the same price for goods they sell online as compared with in stores about 70% of the time.”
These findings come amid widespread retail closures in the US. Some of the nation’s biggest department stores and shopping mall mainstays have shuttered hundreds of locations around the country to bolster online offerings, reports Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson. Due to the rise of e-commerce, visits to shopping malls declined by 50% between 2010 and 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield.