A new IBM research study of 26,000 global consumers released today at the 2013 National Retail Federation Convention found consumers are diversifying the way they shop for and acquire goods. What does that mean? Well basically consumers are becoming more savvy and doing more comparisons between what’s in-store and what is online. Here at The Recessionista, we’ve heard this from readers for some time. The IBM study confirms that consumers are becoming increasingly open to buying both online and in-store depending on their needs at time of purchase. While more than 80 percent of shoppers chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase, only half are committed to returning there next time they buy. Going to the store takes time, energy and planning. Searching for things online, while, that can be done from home or the convenience of a mobile phone or tablet.
This is interesting data, but perhaps the most interesting data in the study is about what segments of shopping are the most high growth: consumer electronics & luxury. According to the study, 35 percent of consumers are are unsure whether they would make their next purchase at a store or online. Nine percent are ready to commit to making future purchases online. Of all eight product categories tracked in the survey, the two most popular categories chosen by consumers for an online shift are consumer electronics and luxury items, including jewelry and designer apparel. In this economy, the growth of shopping for luxury items fascinates me. That tells me, consumers are want the luxury, but are doing some research on where to buy. Frequently, online deals for luxury items are better than say heading out to Neiman Marcus. It also takes much more research to find a good price on a luxury items. I have found Google alerts, Bing shopping and social media to all be of help for this research.
Check out the graph below to see the summary of the IBM Study. Per the study, more consumers are “showrooming” meaning consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online. Significantly, nearly a quarter of these online shoppers intended to buy their item in the store, but ultimately purchased online – primarily due to price and convenience.