Online Shoppers Say Multichannel Retail Spending Isn’t A Zero-Sum Game

February 12, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Retail & E-Commerce

PwC-Online-Shoppers-Spending-Habits-Multichannel-Retailers-Feb2013Retailers trying to keep pace with evolving consumer behavior shouldn’t necessarily worry that offering an additional shopping channel will cannibalize sales from existing channels, according to results from a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The study finds 58% of online shoppers surveyed across 11 markets (56% in the US) said they have spent more with their favorite retailer since they started shopping across multiple channels. But the results aren’t all positive: for retailers to profit, they need to be a consumer favorite. Indeed, the proportion of shoppers saying they spend more when they use multiple channels drops to 52% when considering their second favorite retailer, and to 48% when thinking of their third favorite retailer. So while multichannel favorites might see growth in online and physical sales, those not at the top won’t necessarily benefit so much from offering new channels.

Making into that top tier is a tricky proposition. Among the respondents, 80% said they shop with 1-5 multichannel retailers, while only 5% shop with more than 5. By contrast, 57% shop with more than 5 traditional retailers, and 20% shop with more than 5 online-only retailers. That means that few multichannel retailers are even in consideration as a consumer favorite.

Elsewhere in the PwC report, the survey results indicate that even among online shoppers, physical stores are the preferred purchase channel in most categories identified. Indeed, the researchers argue that the idea that “stores will become mainly showrooms in the future” – which up to half of online shoppers surveyed last year believes to be true – is a myth, pointing to data from the survey showing that online shoppers are far more likely to research online and buy in-store than to research in the store and buy online.

About the Data: PwC commissioned 11,000 online surveys across four continents in July and August 2012. Respondents in each market were chose to reflect the national profiles in terms of age, gender, employment status, and region. The study includes the US, UK, China, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and Turkey.


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