Get in Touch

New research reveals consumers value the physical experience over online / Future Thinking

by on May 22, 2016 in Latest News, Lead Article, Lead story, News you can use, Nuggets, Research, Retail, Retail News, Rock 'n Roll

New research reveals consumers value the physical experience over online / Future Thinking

New research reveals consumers value the physical experience over online

Shoppers remain unsold on buying online without having seen products physically, especially when it comes to big ticket and personal items like shoes.

According to new research from business intelligence research consultancy Future Thinking, although just under half of UK consumers (42%) buy online as a matter of course, we’re more likely to buy tablets and computers without having checked them out in a physical store than we are what we wear or use domestically.

The online survey analysed the results of just under 1450 respondents across the UK, asking the public what they are happy to buy ‘blind’ without first seeing the product in person.

The research revealed that:

  • Small electrical appliances (38%), computers (37%),  accessories (37%) and tablets (35%) are the products most likely to be purchased online without a preview
  • Heavier investment items are less likely to be purchased unseen, with furniture at just 14%
  • More bespoke and personal items such as shoes are also low at 19%
  • Only 1 in 4 are happy purchasing clothing without having seen the item in person

Annabelle Truscott, research director at Future Thinking, said: “Given buying habits over key trading periods such as Christmas, where events like Black Friday have pushed at least 42 of us in every 100 to shop online, we would have expected a higher proportion to be comfortable buying categories across the board online.

But our findings suggest that shoppers remain most comfortable in a physical environment when it comes to big or personal spends – the results show how important the physical experience of retail continues to be.”

Noreen Kinsey, senior shopper research director at Future Thinking,@FutureThinkHQ said: “It’s understandable that people want to ensure the purchase is right for them, and this represents a big opportunity for retailers. The findings of our poll reinforce elements we’re seeing across our retail portfolio – that people go into stores physically for three main reasons: to browse and search for the new; to get information and for comparison shopping; and to see, feel and try.

Digital has had the impact of making for an easier shop so people are now looking for – and will return to – retailers that move beyond commodity and create an in-store experience, where staff can show they are knowledgeable and are able to demonstrate an understanding of the benefits of the product.”



Print article