Consumers prefer to discover new products in store, not online, survey finds

This kind of data is promising for the brick-and-mortar retail channel, which is still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.

Up to 52% of consumers in a new survey said they prefer to discover new products in store rather than online. The “2022 Consumer Culture Report” was produced by public relations agency 5WPR (New York City). The survey polled 2002 U.S. adults 16 years and older in November 2021.Of consumers who stated they prefer discovering new products in store, 56% were men and 48% were women.

This kind of data is promising for the brick-and-mortar retail channel, which is still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions. Says the report, “In our increasingly digitized existence, physical presence still has a strong pull for consumers who want to experience goods and services as a satisfying sensory experience, not a simple or sterile transaction. Almost half of the respondents (47%) suggested in-store experiences are what draws them in-store the most.”

The return to brick-and-mortar looks promising, as the report notes that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that “people are shopping locally in droves.”

In the survey, consumers said shopping in store allowed them to find unexpected new items, to better determine a product’s quality, and to obtain items instantly rather than waiting for them to be shipped.

E-commerce brands will need to be able to meet consumer demands for quick delivery. “Further evidence of the need for speed is revealed by the 61% of consumers who agreed they are more likely to shop from an e-commerce store offering same-day shipping; near-instant delivery is fast becoming a key trade battleground,” the report states. The survey showed consumers are willing to pay an average of $6.78 for same-day delivery services.

For those shoppers considering returning to in-store shopping, safety parameters in physical shopping locations remain important. The report says that 84% of respondents said that a retail outlet’s safety measures are important, versus 16% who said they aren’t that concerned with safety measures. Older shoppers ages 55+ are overwhelmingly likely to be concerned with safety measures in a store.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are learning to adapt to these changing consumer expectations. Says the report, “In-person shopping is not a dying trend as once believed, but consumers are expecting more from their visits and options at every stage, from exclusive in-store offerings to events and activations.” A smooth omnichannel structure is no longer optional either, it says. “Brands need to embrace the idea that from browsing to shipping, shoppers want what they want, exactly when they want it.”