65% of shoppers visit physical stores before making an online purchase

The pace of online shopping growth is slower than expected, according to a new report by Geometry Global, which found that 65 per cent of shoppers still visit physical stores to inform their purchase online.

The Connected Shopper study, which carried out of 9,486 interviews across 12 countries, found there is a continued reliance on physical stores with 88 per cent of shoppers who visit a physical store first citing seeing the product in real life as the primary reason for visiting. Checking prices (65 per cent) is the second reason why shoppers visit physical stores.

Regular and frequent online purchasing – defined as buying online most days – only grew from five per cent in 2011 to 7 per cent in 2014, a relatively slow rate of growth.

Cesar Montes, EMEA CSO of Geometry Global, said: “Our findings confirm that we haven’t yet witnessed the complete online shopping revolution some had predicted. There are a number of reasons for this: the high street still occupies a central and vital function in the consumer’s journey to purchase.

“In addition, there remain a number of obstacles to consumers fully accepting online shopping, such as security concerns, payment methods and unwillingness to engage with brands via social media.”

The study found that in the UK 63 per cent of internet users don’t see any point in ‘friending’ a brand online, however 70 per cent of shoppers worldwide welcome geo-localised ads and promotions via mobile.

Of the 12 countries studied, China topped the list in number of online purchases (5.88) with European countries trailing significantly; the countries making the least purchases online were France (2.40) and Spain (2.17).

In store, digital’s convenience and ease of use plays an increasingly critical role: globally six out of ten people use mobile phones or tablets while visiting physical outlets, mostly to compare prices, look for product information and take photos of the product.

The use of mobile phones in the physical store is the highest in developing economies, with China (94 per cent), India (87 per cent) and Russia (74 per cent) ranking top, while developed countries such as the UK (31 per cent) and USA (36 per cent) show the lowest prevalence.

Fieldwork for the study was managed by research house TNS and conducted via online panels using Geometry Global’s Purchase Decision Journey research methodology.

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