Showrooming — IAB reports most of us do it

According to a new study by the US Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) more than half of all adult shoppers under 55 conduct product research on mobile devices while shopping in physical stores.

The practice is called ‘showrooming’ and the IAB defines it as “comparing prices on a mobile device while in a retail store before purchasing.”

While it is a US study we should take notice of the trends, as local retailers have noticed it is also happening here more frequently in New Zealand:

  • 18-34 year olds are most likely to do any mobile showrooming, with over two-thirds of people in this age group doing some form of showrooming. They are most likely to buy at another store and by any means (going to the physical store, using a mobile device or using a computer after leaving). They are also more likely than any other age group to make a purchase using their smartphone (43% vs. 28%) and more likely to purchase on a smartphone than on a tablet (35%).

Showrooming Stats 18 -34

  •  35-54 year olds — amongst this age group, over half practice showrooming. They have an equal likelihood of buying in the store or a competitor’s store. Their next most likely outcome is to buy from a competitor’s website on a mobile
    device or on a computer. This age group is most likely to make a purchase on a tablet (41% vs. 35% Adults 18+) and more likely to purchase on a tablet than on a smartphone (29%).Showrooming 35-54 yr olds
  • Over one-third of 55-64 year olds showroom. They are most likely to buy at the same physical store and their next most likely scenario is to buy elsewhere on a computer after leaving.
  • Over one in five  adults 65 and older does showrooming. They are most likely to buy at the same physical store and least likely to buy using a mobile device while in the store.

The study surveyed a sample of over 23,000 18+ adults and had a margin of error of -1% with a confidence level of 99%.

Why should you care?

As we enter the holiday season, retail competition is high and consumers are likely to be wary of how much they are spending — this will lead to more showrooming. Retailers need to ensure they have appropriate budgets for mobile campaigns, have mobile-friendly websites and have trained in-store sales staff on how best to deal with showrooming customers.


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About the Author Glenn Marvin

Glenn is a Partner and Senior Consultant who has had a very successful career building growth companies in the private equity arena. He has a wealth of experience in both the digital space and strategy development. Prior to becoming a partner in SureFire Glenn built one of the largest digital teams in New Zealand for a NASDAQ listed global online marketing company & Google's largest premium partner.

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