72% of products cheaper online than offline

When comparing the pricing for consumer goods both online and offline, 71 percent of products were exactly the same, according to the eighth edition of Anthem Marketing Solutions' semi-annual market basket analysis. But when prices did vary, the lower pricing existed online versus in-store, 72 percent of the time versus 28 percent.

Looking at specific categories, beauty had the highest proportion of items priced lower online than offline. The only category in which offline prices were a better deal than online were office or school supplies.

And for best price matching, 90 percent of hardware/home improvement items were priced the same both offline and online. Pharmacy retailers seemed to offer the lowest level of pricing consistency across channels.

Coupons played a role in the study. In the online channel, customers were more likely to find broad site or category-wide discounts—applicable to the basket not the individual item—which furthered the price advantage of online.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) recently announced over the holidays that they would expand their in-store price matching guarantee. Under these conditions, the study found that overall pricing in-store would improve by 9 percent at Walmart and 14 percent at Target.

Price matching was a high priority for retailers competing over this past holiday selling season. It was at the top of the list for many consumers as well, as 27.9 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 24 years old; 18 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds; and 21.8 percent of 15- to 34-year-olds, took advantage of price matching over the holiday season.

For more:
-See this Anthem Marketing Solutions study

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