In A Typical Month, 69 Percent Of U.S. Internet Users Make A Brick-And-Mortar Retail Purchase

Comparatively, only 22 percent make a retail purchase online in the same period.

With approximately 69 percent of U.S. internet users making a retail brick-and-mortar purchase in an average month, in-store sales still rule the day — but online channels hold a slight edge during the process of researching these purchases, according to new research from Murphy Research cited by eMarketer.

While only 22 percent make a retail purchase online in an average month (and 9 percent buy something online for in-store pickup), there is a skew towards beginning product research online: 53 percent start on mobile or desktop, whereas 48 percent say they research/browse in physical stores. What’s more, the trend toward using a mobile device for research while shopping continues to grow: Nearly three-quarters of Millennials say they’re likely to research products on their phone while in a store.

Overall, according to Forrester Research, “half of all retail sales in the US are digitally influenced, which is to say a consumer used a digital device before or during a shopping trip,” writes eMarketer‘s Krista Garcia. “The company predicts that figure will rise to 58 percent by 2022.”

Mobile Experiences Matter More

This trend means two major things for marketers: First, that mobile discoverability matters more than ever; customers need to be able to find products, information, and store locations easily so that they can transact there (or pursue in-store pick-up options). And second, that personalized mobile experiences matter — both in the research phase and when someone is actually shopping in a store.

This means that marketers need to prioritize answering users’ commonly made queries on mobile so that they stand a chance of ranking in unbranded search situations. (Read more about driving foot traffic in the age of intelligent search here.)

And when it comes to in-store shopping itself, approximately 82 percent of Millennials believe it’s important for a brand to have physical stores — but the friction caused by long checkout lines or understaffed retail flagships is more of a turn off than ever; with same-day on-demand delivery expectations, it’s a rare consumer who will put up with an excessive wait.

As such, it pays for retailers to invest in updated POS checkout lane technologies to accept a wider range of mobile payments or enable scan-and-go in-app payment — as well as making product information easily accessible online and within a branded app. After all, these customers are already online while shopping — and if your store doesn’t provide the options they want, it’s likely that a competitor will.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.