Showrooming and Webrooming: A Tale of Two Trends

Harris Poll Finds Webrooming is a Trend to Watch

Dec 03, 2013, 05:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- If showrooming was a holiday trend to watch in 2012, then webrooming (wherein consumers do their research online and then head to the store to actually make a purchase) is one to watch in 2013, according to a recent Harris Poll following up on research first implemented during last year's holiday season and revisited earlier this year. As of this holiday season, nearly half of Americans have showroomed (46%), up from midyear (40%) and up slightly from 2013 (43%). But if it's a pure numbers game, webrooming would appear to come into this pairing at an advantage, as roughly seven in ten Americans (69%) indicate having done this.


These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,250 U.S. adults surveyed online from November 13-18, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full results, including data tables, available here)

Two great tastes that taste great together
To be clear, these two consumer behaviors are far from mutually exclusive – in fact, those who have done one are more likely to have done the other as well, when compared to general population. Six in ten webroomers have showroomed (59%, vs. 46% of Americans overall) and nearly nine in ten showroomers have webroomed (88%, vs. 69% of total Americans). Additionally, men are more likely than women to have both showroomed (53% and 40%, respectively) and webroomed (75% and 63%, respectively).

Consumers going full circle
But where are consumers spending their online and in-person shopping time? Looking first at showroomers, Walmart (24%) and Best Buy (21%) are the top destinations for their hands-on time, followed by Target (9%).

  • Male showroomers are roughly twice as likely to visit Best Buy as their female counterparts (27% men, 14% women), while women are roughly three times as likely to visit Target (14% women, 5% men).

Once they get home and are ready to make their purchase, though, there's one clear destination standing out over the others, with roughly six in ten showroomers (59%) identifying Amazon as the online retailer they most frequently purchase from after visiting a store – about ten times as many as select Walmart (6%), the next highest response.

While the majority of showrooming excursions end on Amazon, the highest percentage of webrooming trips (again by a dramatic margin) begin there, with 48% of webroomers naming it as the website they most often visit to examine a product before purchasing it in-store.

And after their online investigations are complete, where are webroomers most likely to go to make their purchases? Where else? Right back to Walmart (26%), Best Buy (11%) and Target (11%)!

  • Walmart seems to be most successful at transitioning their online visitors into in-store purchasers, as two-thirds (67%) of those webroomers who typically do their investigating at Walmart online say they usually go on to make their in-store purchases at a Walmart brick and mortar store.

"When it comes to the battle for consumers' holiday shopping dollars, all retailers are upping their games," says Mike de Vere, President of the Harris Poll. "Online versus brick and mortar retailers each have their own advantages, and poaching customers from competitors is all about playing to those strengths. Want to skip the crowded stores this holiday shopping season? Online is a clear answer. Feel better about being able to take your purchase home with you immediately? Brick and mortar stores have you covered. We'll be continuing to watch these trends and the ways in which retailers try to impact them."

Money matters
And how much are online and in-store retailers poaching from one another? Showroomers say that the last time they purchased a product online after checking it out in-store they spent an average of $174.00. That's a pretty penny, but it's down in comparison to both the average showrooming expenditure from last holiday season ($211.80) and webroomers' average spending this year ($203.90).

  • Showrooming women are more likely than their male counterparts (73% and 64%, respectively) to have kept their most recent bill at $100 or less, while men are more likely to have spend over $100 (36% men, 27% women).
  • Retailers matter: showroomers who do their scouting at Best Buy go on to make the steepest online purchases ($250.80 on average, compared to $128.90 among Walmart showroomers and $81.20 among Target showroomers).
  • Similarly, webroomers who most often make their final purchase at Best Buy ($372.90) spend more, on average, than the combined spending of those who most often buy at Walmart ($105.60) and Target ($93.30).

Purchase preferences
Preferences between online and in-store purchases are not a simple one-or-the-other choice, of course – for one thing, there are a lot of in-store options – "Big Box" stores, retail chains such as Apple Stores or Gap, and local, one-off stores or small chains. It also depends on what type of product they're buying.

  • Online is the top choice for books, with 41% identifying online as their preference for book purchases.
  • "Big Box" stores are the top selection when it comes to purchasing both large (54%) and small (52%) household appliances, along with personal electronics (38%), desktop or laptop computers (37%) and pet supplies (25%). "Big Box" stores also tie for the top spot with local, individual stores or small chains when it comes to purchasing groceries (34%).
  • In-store purchases at retail chains are the top preference for clothing (37%), shoes (35%) and smartphone/cell phone (35%) purchases.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,250 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 997 have showroomed and 1,509 have webroomed. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

Brand names used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #91, December 3, 2013

About Harris Interactive
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SOURCE Harris Interactive