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05/10/2022

Survey: Digital retail is big, but don’t overlook the store

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Strong online spending does not negate the store’s importance.

A new survey indicates that customers like online shopping, but also expect omnichannel fulfillment options.

According to the study of 1,000 U.S. consumers from e-commerce solutions company Radial, over half (54%) of respondents are shopping more online than in 2020. Notably, one-third of respondents stating that they shop online a few times a week.

However, at the same time, respondents also indicate they are warming up to in-store shopping. More than six in 10 (63%) respondents are willing to shop in-store without fear of exposure to COVID-19.

Followed by online shopping, 24% of survey respondents classified curbside pickup as their top two shopping service. Another 36% of respondents ranked buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) as third.

Survey findings also highlight that consumers are increasingly price-conscious in the face of continuing high inflation. Forty percent of respondents have stopped purchasing items that are not necessities, while more than one-third (34%) have delayed less-important purchases. More than one in four (26%) respondents noted they had bundled purchases for online orders to lower fees or shipping costs.

In addition, the survey examined consumer attitudes toward shipping:

  • Half of respondents now consider three to four days a reasonable timeframe to expect online orders to be delivered.
  • The data also shows that free shipping is the most important consideration and consumers would sacrifice the speed of delivery for it. Only 23% of respondents said they would forego free shipping and pay for next-day shipping to receive items or products faster.
  • Despite respondents saying free shipping is the most important consideration, almost 60% of respondents said they will seek products from other brands or retailers to receive them faster.

McKinsey: Consumers spend more across channels
Results of the recent March 2022 McKinsey Consumer Pulse Survey confirm Radial’s findings that U.S. consumers are increasing their spending, both online and in-store. Respondents spent 18% more in March 2022 than they did two years earlier, and 12% more than they were forecast to spend based on the pre-COVID-19 trajectory. This increase is occurring both online and in physical stores.

The survey indicates that year-on-year spend growth in e-commerce was 27% in March 2022. The total uplift in e-commerce penetration, from the onset of COVID-19 until March 2022, was 33%. Meanwhile, the survey shows in-store spending grew 8% year-over-year in March 2022, compared with approximately 5% in early 2021. 

“Ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment services have become part of retail’s DNA, and require continued investment from retailers and brands,” said Laura Ritchey, executive VP and COO of Radial. “The implementation of digital capabilities does not stop when the pandemic ends – e-commerce is constantly evolving along with consumers’ preferences and brands need to follow suit. Services like buy online, pick up in-store and curbside pickup have become channels for consumers to get products more conveniently and it created an opportunity for retailers to diversify the fulfillment processes and scale operations.”

Radial conducted a survey with Dynata in March 2022, targeting 1,000 general U.S.-based consumers over 18 years of age.