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According to The NPD Group Inc., 15-20 percent of consumers in 2011 were “showrooming” -- researching a product in the brick-and-mortar store and then make their actual purchase online -- categories like stand mixers, electric knives, sewing machines and some floor cleaners. Other categories like power tools, hair setters and robotic vacuums are now beginning to show signs of the “showrooming” trend as well.
The market research firm’s Consumer Tracking Service shows that in total small kitchen electrics, 7 percent of consumers who researched their product in a brick-and-mortar store made their purchase online. Within personal care, that number is 4 percent, and in home improvement, 2 percent. On the flip side, two in three consumers that researched a home-related product online, ended up purchasing it in the brick-and-mortar store.
“We are a long way off from a world of online-only shopping. The majority of consumers buy their kitchen appliances, personal care, and home environment products in a brick-and-mortar store,” said Perry James, president of home and office supplies, The NPD Group, based in Port Washington, N.Y. “That being said, the prevalence of smart phones provides consumers with the ability to do price comparisons in real-time, while still in the store, increasing the challenge retailers are faced with to offer the best price.”
Online sales are on the rise. According to NPD, there was 20 percent dollar growth in small appliance and home improvement online sales in 2011. However, online sales accounted for a 13 percent dollar share of small appliances and a five percent dollar share of home improvement sales in 2011, leaving the majority of home-related purchases having been made in brick-and-mortar stores.
“The need to touch and feel a product before making the purchase is still very compelling for most customers, and that is what initially gets them in the door. Once they have the items in their hands, and have decided they want it, the need for immediate gratification can be too strong to go home and wait for an item to be shipped to their home, even if it is the less expensive option,” said James.