80% of major purchases start online, end in-store

Although 80 percent of all major purchases start by shoppers conducting research online, most tend to finish the deal inside a physical store.

Synchrony Financial's "Fourth Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study" looked at major purchases across 13 categories ranging from appliances and jewelry to home improvement and sports equipment. The journey to making a purchase included about 68 days of research, down from 80 days in 2014.

Digital continues to play an important role in the research process and even in purchasing. Online purchasing of larger items remained 13 percent year-over-year. The number didn't increase because online shopping cart abandonment happens frequently. However, according to a recent survey by BizRate Insights, a division of Connexity, more than half of consumers who intend to make an online purchase, and then abandon their carts, say they could be convinced to complete their purchase if they were offered a discount of 20 percent.

But in-store remains an important part of the process, as 73 percent of shoppers conduct research during their visit and 87 percent of respondents purchase in person at a physical store. As many as 64 percent said in-store visits had a greater influence on their purchasing decision than online research. In fact, the amount of storefront conversions and duration of time in stores is up, according to Euclid Analytics' mid-year U.S. Retail Benchmarks report.

Promotional financing plays a large part in major purchases, with 75 percent saying they "always" seek promotional financing when making a purchase.

"These insights are a valuable reminder for retailers of the importance of the in-store experience as part of a true omnichannel strategy," said Toni White, chief marketing officer, Synchrony Financial. "Providing an integrated and consistent experience across all channels bridges shoppers from online sources of information to visit a physical store, validate their choices, and ultimately purchase."

For more:
-See this Synchrony Financial press release

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