73% of consumers browse online, purchase in-store

While e-commerce is a growing channel for retail sales, in-store is still the place of preference for most consumer purchases.

In the United States, 27 percent of consumers say they shop online weekly, according to PwC's annual consumer survey Total Retail: Retailers and the Age of Disruption. While 68 percent of U.S. respondents say they intentionally browse products in a store before purchasing them online, 73 percent said they browse online and then purchase the products in-store. And 65 percent said that delivery fees were their top reason for purchasing in-store, as well as having the item immediately, 61 percent, and trying on or viewing the product, 61 percent.

According to a holiday shopping study by 1010data, 52 percent of respondents prefer in-store shopping to online because of their unwillingness to wait for shipping.

"For the past several years, the story around retail stores was 'showrooming,' in which stores were places to display items for online purchase. However, this year's survey results reveal that the online shop has also become a showroom where shoppers research and compare prices for later, in-store purchases," said Steven Barr, PwC U.S. retail and consumer practice leader. "As online shopping continues to grow at the expense of store visits, we expect the premium in the future may be on creating unique, brand-defining store and online experiences that keep consumers coming back."

In-store is also the preferred venue for returning and exchanging purchases. About 70 percent of consumers said they would go to a store to return or exchange a gift from this past holiday season, while only 9 percent prefer to do the return online. According to a study conducted by Retale, a location-based mobile platform, 22 percent had no specific preference on where to return, but those that preferred in-store claimed it was perceived as more convenient.

Globally, mobile continues to also play a large role in disrupting the purchasing journey. But in the United States, mobile is primarily for research, not a point of purchase. The study showed that 46 percent of U.S. respondents have researched products on mobile phones and 45 percent have used them for price comparisons. But credit cards, 40 percent, and debit cards, 40 percent, were still the preferred method of payment.

Citing security concerns, 33 percent of U.S. respondents said they did not use mobile for shopping, while 77 percent are wary of having their credit card information hacked while using a mobile phone.

For more:
-See this PwC press release

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