It looks like brick-and-mortar retailers will be battling a price perception problem these holidays. Some 46% of US consumers aged 20-40 believe that in-store prices are higher than those available online, while another 23% believe the prices are about the same, finds Accenture [download page] in new survey results. This perception is supported by research from The Conference Board that suggests a correlation between planned purchases of discounted gifts and the propensity to shop online.
Perceptions of price differences between the online and offline store are even stronger in the UK. According to Accenture, 59% of survey respondents from the UK believe physical store prices are higher than online prices. Only 18% think online prices are higher.
Most In-Store Mobile Researchers Purchase Elsewhere
Only 1 in 5 US shoppers who use a smartphone or tablet to compare prices in a physical store say they generally make their final purchases in those stores, while more than one-third say they make their purchase in a different physical store. The remaining 46% will make those purchases online, though it’s unclear whether they buy from the same retailer or not.
The Accenture study does not address unplanned purchases by showroomers, which are significant. Some 14% of American smartphone owners who have scanned or texted for product information while in-store say they made an unplanned purchase as a result, according to a September 2012 report from Vibes. And, Vibes found that 29% of showroomers (who shop in store but buy online) later made a purchase from the store’s own website. Thus a physical store may lose a sale, but, not to a competitor store.
Accenture’s study shows that three-quarters of US smartphone and tablet owners who compare prices in-store do so every time they shop, while the remaining 26% do so only in cases of purchases over $250. Overall, 75% of the US respondents report using mobile devices to compare prices while in-store.
Consumers can be persuaded to purchase in-store, though, if the in-store description, price and availability are consistent. For example, if the online offering does not match the in-store offering in its description, 51% would purchase in-store. If the price did not match, 42% would buy in-store.
About The Data: The consumer survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes on behalf of Accenture Interactive. It was carried out online in August of 2012 with 2,000 consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom. Participants were split equally between males and females between 20 and 40 years of age, and the survey recorded ethnicity and socio-demographics.