Many Purchases Still Happen In-Store

Author: Rimma Kats

March 19, 2018

More consumers may be shopping digitally, but many purchases—ranging from food and beverage to home furniture—still happen in-store, according to "The eMarketer Ecommerce Insights Report," conducted by Bizrate Insights in March 2018.

For the most part, the study found that consumers shop for a variety of grocery-related items in-store. For example, roughly 96% of US internet users said they primarily shop for food and beverages at physical locations. And the same goes for products like household cleaning supplies, paper and plastic products, and personal care and hygiene products. 

In fact, across the various categories mentioned, in-store shopping was still preferred for most. 

But there are certain categories—like clothing, footwear and personal accessories, as well as consumer electronics—where more consumers tend to shop digitally. Some 43.0% of respondents said they predominantly buy consumer electronics online, and that number isn't too far off from those who shop the same category in-store (49.6%). Similarly, 41.2% of US internet users favor digital shopping for clothing, while 58.1% prefer brick-and-mortar locations. 

But these findings aren't too surprising. Consumers are likely more comfortable shopping for clothes and consumer electronics online compared with food/beverages for a number of reasons, primarily because they can scour the web to find the best price. For simple things like buying chicken or avocados, that amount of research isn't necessary. 

And past studies have shown that when it comes to shopping for food, consumers prefer to see products in-person

Ultimately, there are a variety of reasons why some consumers shop in-store, and why others do so digitally. A survey from digital retail display company June20, conducted by Propeller Insights, looked at the pros and cons of both and found many consumers shop online to avoid waiting in line. Meanwhile, others find in-store shopping more satisfying because they don't have to wait days to receive a product they ordered.