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Study: Consumers prefer shopping in-store

More than half of U.S. consumers prefer to shop in-store.

More than half of all U.S. consumers would rather shop in-store than by any other method.

That’s according to new  research from customer engagement specialist Emarsys, which found that 54% of consumers prefer bricks-and-mortar retail to any other channel, with more than twice as many preferring it to shopping via a mobile phone (21%) or via laptops/computers (18%).

However, huge value remains in digital channels. Two in five (39%) consumers  “couldn’t live without online shopping.”  And younger audiences push the boundaries further: Thirty percent have made purchases on TikTok, while one in 10 use a smart speaker.

Time spent across all channels is fleeting, according to the study. With consumers shopping for an average of two hours per week, retailers need to reach customers where they want to shop — be that in store or elsewhere, advised Emarsys.

 The study noted the changes in consumer preferences across different industries:

  • In food, for example, despite the rise of online groceries, consumers are still four times more likely to prefer buy in-person (38%) than online (9%).
  • For travel purchases, by contrast, 23% of consumers prefer to shop online  compared to 5% in-store.
  • And in fashion, 21% prefer to shop online — while an almost identical 20% prefer the in-store experience.

 “Rather than ‘taking down’ physical stores, huge investments in e-commerce over the past two years have empowered customers to pursue their perfect shopping experience,” said Meghann York, global head of product marketing, Emarsys. “What’s telling about this data is that, while shoppers have their preferences, they also switch between a huge variety of channels as they need – so brands can’t skimp on preferred channels at the expense of smaller ones.”

 To deliver a consistent and engaging experience, retailers must treat digital and physical retail as branches of the same strategy, York added.

“Their marketers need to centralize data from every channel to meaningfully understand their customers as individuals,” she said. “That’s the key to delivering campaigns that really mean something to shoppers on a one-to-one level, and that stay with them across channels.”


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