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Survey Reveals the Blurred Lines Between Online and Offline Shopping Have Altered Consumer Shopping Behavior

LOS GATOS, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 13, 2012) -

  • The Internet drives consumers into stores -- 91 percent have gone into a store based on an online experience; more than half after reading an online circular

  • Shopping is often a combined online/offline experience -- 77 percent research product information online while shopping in a store, with 62 percent completing the purchase

  • Shopping online is done while multi-tasking -- 63 percent shop online while watching TV, and almost a quarter shop while commuting

Wanderful Media™, a new local discovery shopping company based in Silicon Valley, today announced the results of a national survey of more than 1,000 consumers on shopping behavior. Conducted by Dimensional Research and commissioned by Wanderful Media, the survey revealed that 91 percent of consumers shop in a physical store as a result of an online experience such as an email promotion, online coupon or online newspaper circular. Another 77 percent researched a product online while shopping in a store, and 62 percent ultimately purchased the item.

The full report can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/UDNbai.

The goal of the survey -- "Technology Blurs the Line of Online vs. In-store Shopping" -- was to gather current data about consumer shopping behavior in stores and online, and to uncover how mobile and online technologies have changed the overall shopping experience. The findings show a growing integration between online and offline has created a more fluid shopping experience, where consumers move through the process of shopping in a non-traditional way using technology to allow them freedom of location, device and even activities.

For this survey, "shopping" was defined as any activity encompassing the broader shopping experience including browsing, discovering a new product, reading product reviews, researching a purchase, checking with friends or experts about what to buy, asking the retailer questions about a product, purchasing a product, returning a product and sharing details of a purchase on social media.

According to the research, there are distinct drivers behind online and in-store shopping. Online shoppers cited ease-of-research, speed to find an item and cost as the top reasons they prefer to shop online. Respondents who prefer to shop in a physical store cited getting answers to questions, seeing the item before purchase, ease of making a return and merchant relationships as the top drivers. Behavioral patterns were uncovered that show a majority, independent of age, will go online to research products while in-store before purchasing; and most will buy the item they were considering. They are also doing other things such as watching television, commuting and socializing with friends while shopping. Surprisingly in this age of online shopping, consumers report they like to spend time in their local retail store as well.

Mobile was by far the preferred technology according to the survey. Smartphones were the most popular devices (92 percent) for in-store research, followed closely by tablets. For conducting in-store research when shopping, search engines (84 percent) and Amazon (76 percent) were the most common online resources, according to the survey, while more than one-third (37 percent) identified social media as a resource.

Other key survey findings include:

Online shoppers multi-task

  • 63 percent shop online while watching TV

  • 28 percent shop while socializing with friends

  • 24 percent shop online in a café or restaurant

  • 22 percent shop online while commuting

Online vs. in-store experience affects shopping decision

  • Online shopping is preferred over in-store shopping because of the ability to research purchases (71 percent) and ease of finding a specific item (59 percent)

  • In-store shopping is preferred for making a return (64 percent), knowing exactly what is being purchased (53 percent), having the ability to see, touch and smell an item (55 percent) and establishing a relationship with the merchant (51 percent)

Impulse shopping happens both in a store and online

  • 74 percent reported an impulse purchase in a store in the past month

  • Impulse shopping is driven by both online and in-store shopping activities including: browsing in a store (60 percent), promotional emails (42 percent), window shopping (36 percent), while presented with other items while in the online check out process (27 percent)

  • Shoppers make more impulse purchases from reading traditional newspaper circulars (23 percent) than they do from Facebook (22 percent), Twitter (13 percent) or Pinterest (13 percent)

Online experience sends shoppers into stores

  • More than half (55 percent) reported they first searched for a product online and found a store location online before travelling to the store for the purchase

  • 60 percent went to a store for a purchase after receiving an email promotion

  • Less than 10 percent reported never going into a store as a result of an online experience

New online sales tax rules impact shopping behavior

  • 22 percent shop less online due to changes in online sales tax

  • 32 percent of men do less shopping online because of changes to online sales tax

  • 64 percent cited no shipping charges as a key contributor to the decision to shop in a store

Backed by a powerful group of media publishers to reinvent discovery shopping from web to mobile, Wanderful Media recently entered the market to help retail advertisers reach millions of consumers in more than 80 percent of U.S. markets. Wanderful Media already owns and operates the Find n Save® brand of more than 284 local online discovery shopping sites covering 47 of the 50 top designated market areas (DMAs).

Survey methodology: In Dec. 2012, 1,027 consumers completed an online survey about shopping habits and preferences. All participants lived in the United States and use a mobile device for shopping. The participants were comprised of both men and women and represented a wide range of ages and household income. Respondents were not compensated for participating in the survey, but were offered a copy of the final report.

Supporting Quotes
"The lines have blurred between online and in-store shopping and technology enables an experience that easily moves between online and the local retailer. The use of mobile phones and tablets provides the freedom to discover, research or see what your friends are buying, regardless of where you are and many consumers easily switch between devices depending on the task. It's because of these behaviors that our products will be designed to easily and seamlessly move through the entire shopping journey from discovery through purchase with a strong focus on mobile."

- Ben T. Smith, IV, CEO of Wanderful Media

Useful Links

Tweet this: New data about consumer purchasing behavior released by @WanderfulMedia Full report: http://bit.ly/UDNbai

About Wanderful Media
Wanderful Media is a Silicon Valley company reinventing local discovery shopping. Providing reach into more than 80 percent of U.S. markets through trusted media brands, Wanderful Media helps retailers bring consumers into local stores and gives consumers the most convenient way to discover local merchandise. The company is backed by a powerful group of media companies including Advance Digital, A. H. Belo Corporation, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., Cox Media Group, The E. W. Scripps Company, Gannett Co., Inc., GateHouse Media, Inc., Hearst Corporation, Lee Enterprises, MediaNews Group, The McClatchy Company, and The Washington Post Co.

Unlike price comparison, daily deal and couponing sites, Wanderful Media makes discovery shopping engaging, fun and social for consumers, wherever they are and however they shop -- tablet, mobile and web. The company's Find n Save® product offers local media affiliates a complete discovery shopping solution, designed to connect retail advertisers with millions of consumers. Wanderful Media is headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif. and on the web at www.wanderful.com.

About Dimensional Research
Dimensional Research® provides practical marketing research to help technology companies make their customers more successful. Our researchers have deep understanding of how technology is developed and used. We partner with our clients to deliver actionable information that reduces risks, increases customer satisfaction, and grows business results. For more information visit www.dimensionalresearch.com.