65 Percent of Americans Prefer Shopping at Physical Stores to See and Touch Products

ShoppingJune20 press release

Americans value the rich information available to them while shopping online but crave the immediacy and sensory elements of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. A new study commissioned by June20 found that 84 percent of Americans prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores or at a combination of online and in-store retailers.

The study of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Propeller Insights in October 2017, found that, while American consumers still love the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, the online shopping experience offers benefits they don’t easily get in stores like user reviews, videos and specifications they need to help them make choices when buying a product. When asked what they like about the online shopping experience that is missing from an in-store experience, 42 percent of Americans say they miss the ability to compare items, and 31 percent of Americans miss the easy access to rich information about products that the in-store experience doesn’t provide.

“Our research shows that Americans gravitate to online shopping because they like having more choices and the ability to compare items with rich content and information at their fingertips. This helps them make their buying decisions,” said Jason Seed, COO of June20. “However, our research also reveals that Americans are craving the curated experience that being in a physical store brings — 65 percent of Americans said they visit a physical store because they like to see and touch a product before buying it.”

Americans Still Love Brick-and-Mortar Retail

While online shopping has become a common practice, there are aspects of the real-life shopping experience that American consumers still relish. Americans said the following benefits make buying a product at a store more satisfying than shopping online:

  • Being able to get exactly the thing they want – 62 percent
  • The immediacy of the experience – 61 percent
  • Being able to see the product before it is delivered – 58 percent
  • Having a hands-on experience with the product before purchasing – 53 percent
  • Being able to ensure that the product being purchased is undamaged – 53 percent

Indeed, Americans even turn to brick-and-mortar retailers for emotional support: more than a quarter (29 percent) of American women say the immediate satisfaction of shopping is important because it provides the retail therapy needed to face the uncertainty in the world, and nearly one-in-five (19 percent) American men say it’s important because they fear for the future with Trump in the White House.

Clothing (66 percent), beauty products (31 percent) and accessories (31 percent) are the top items Americans prefer to experience in-store before purchasing, while smartphones—iPhone X, iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy—are the items Americans say they least need to experience in person.

But There Are Benefits of Online Shopping They Crave

While Americans enjoy the physical experience of shopping, almost all of them (91 percent) say there are benefits of online shopping they would like to experience when shopping in-store. Chief among them:

The ability to find the best price on an item – 52 percent

  • Not having to waste time in lines – 50 percent
  • Being able to find user reviews, videos and other product information – 47 percent
  • The general ease of online shopping – 35 percent
  • It allows for shopping on-the-go – 34 percent
  • Easy access to rich information about products – 31 percent

Consequently, most Americans admit to sometimes visiting a store but making their purchases online because: they want to have a hands-on experience with a product before purchasing it (52 percent), they can find cheaper prices online (51 percent) or because the store didn’t have the product in stock (40 percent).

Whether in-store or online, Americans say price comparisons are what they value most when making purchasing decisions (69 percent), followed by:

  • User reviews – 53 percent
  • Photos of the product – 41 percent
  • How quickly they can get the product home – 40 percent