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Most US consumers fond of physical stores: survey.

Published: November 14, 2019

Despite rising popularity of online shopping, nearly all consumers (99 per cent) shopped in a physical store in the past 12 months for ease, immediacy and experience, according to new research conducted online by The Harris Poll. The research commissioned by real estate company Coldwell Banker Commercial assessed US preferences surrounding in-store shopping.

Reasons behind the trend include purchasing a product needed immediately (61 per cent), experiencing a product before buying it (55 per cent), browsing and getting ideas (50 per cent) and taking advantage of in-store sales or coupons (49 per cent), according to a press release from the company.

“Consumers still want the experience of in-store retail, and the numbers show they’re also looking for personalized assistance,” said Daniel Spiegel, managing director of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates.

“Retailers can drive people to stores by creating stellar experiences and customer service. I recently went to a new store that was set up like a market with various vendors around the space. Perhaps it’s the new department store model. Clearly, there’s still a strong desire for in-store shopping, retailers can get more creative with their spaces to attract shoppers,” he said.

The holiday season is the best time for retailers to draw consumers with special deals and convenience. But it is also an opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to create unique experiences for consumers and to present options not available online, like personal assistance, speaking with local shop owners or browsing in person for unique gifts, the survey found.

While consumers are split between online (51 per cent) and physical stores (44 per cent) as their preferred option for buying holiday gifts, more than nine in 10 consumers (92 per cent) do plan to shop in a physical store for gifts this holiday season. The survey found consumers intend to shop in store this holiday season for several specific reasons.

The majority of consumers say physical stores are the most preferred shopping method for major appliances (81 per cent), clothing/accessories (70 per cent), health/beauty products (67 per cent) and home décor (67 per cent). Roughly 44 per cent prefer physical stores for buying holiday gifts.

More than four in five consumers surveyed (81 per cent) say they feel they are making a positive contribution to their community by shopping in a physical store. Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of consumers say retail therapy is a great way to relieve stress.

Consumers value in-store experiences and personalized assistance. Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of consumers say when they shop in a physical store they tend to look for in-store experiences. Half of consumers (50 per cent) say they would sacrifice spending less on a product online in order to get personalized assistance/advice from an in-store sales associate.Younger generations are more likely to go to stores to kill time and spend time with friends.

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