The true impact of showrooming

by Foolproof

Billions of pounds of sales ‘up for grabs’ over Christmas as a result of showrooming.

During the run up to Christmas we surveyed shoppers to uncover the true impact of the phenomenon known as showrooming, where consumers visit a physical store when shopping for a product, before checking to see if they can get a better price online.

Our research showed that around a quarter of all UK shoppers used their mobile in a store to compare prices elsewhere in the run-up to Christmas.

Unlike other recent studies on showrooming, we also gathered data on how consumers acted, once they’d compared prices by mobile, with 40% saying they bought elsewhere as a direct result of showrooming.

Research highlights included:

  • 24% of all UK shoppers ‘showroomed’ in the lead-up to Xmas 2012.
  • 40% of showroomers (or 1 in 10 of all shoppers) say they bought items from a competitor – either in-store or online – after comparing prices via their mobile when visiting a store.
  • 39% of 18-39 year olds surveyed said that they actively engaged in showrooming over the Xmas period (compared to just 18% of shoppers over the age of 40).
  • A 10% sales ‘leakage’ from showrooming activities would have meant that around £500m** of sales were switched between retailers in the final weekend before Xmas alone.
  • Over 20% of people say they went into a store just to check out something they planned to buy online.

Our research uncovers the true impact of showrooming on the UK High Street over the Christmas period. It shows that 1 in 10 shoppers switched purchases from one retailer to another as a direct result of showrooming. Or put another way, half a billion pounds of business walked out of the door to a competitor.

The age profile data is especially interesting, with younger, more smart-phone savvy shoppers being far more active showroomers than the older generation. This suggests that showrooming is here to stay, and set to grow. The High Street needs to find ways of accommodating and embracing showrooming as part of the modern-day shopping process.

Actions can range from price-matching policies, offering a checkout and delivery experience that is slicker than going elsewhere, and better integration of their online and offline customer experiences.

**Based on British Retail Consortium, data of £5bn spent High Street spending over weekend before Xmas (“Estimated that £5bn will have been spent in Britain’s shops over the weekend, as millions of people stocked up on food, drink and presents.”)

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