New Study Reveals Holiday Showrooming Impact Could Cost Retailers Billions

Nearly 3/4 of Smartphone Owners Plan to Research in Store and Purchase Online this Holiday Season

Walker Sands Multichannel Holiday Shopping Study also found in-store shopping is in decline; 70 percent of smartphone owners don’t plan to shop in store on Black Friday this holiday season and 25 percent plan to spend more than 50 percent of their holiday budget online.

CHICAGO - November 20, 2012 - Walker Sands Communications, a top public relations agency for technology companies ranging from startups to enterprise-level software providers, announced today the results of its Multichannel Holiday Shopping Study, which revealed key insight into consumers holiday shopping and spending plans.

Among notable findings, the study revealed that the majority of smartphone owners, nearly 75 percent, have participated in showrooming in the past year and plan to do so this holiday season. In fact, more than one in four smartphone owners plan to spend more than 50 percent of their holiday spending budget showrooming this holiday season — a loss that could cost retailers billions of dollars.

“Showrooming is a relatively new phenomenon that retailers are grappling with and we can only expect this trend to continue to grow,” said Mike Santoro, President of Walker Sands. “These findings further demonstrate a need for an integrated approach to the shopping experience that incorporates a strong online presence across online, mobile and in store. Retailers need to differentiate themselves by providing customer-centric experiences to compete with Amazon.”

The study also found that about one third of respondents search five or more online sites before purchasing a gift. The highest percentage of consumers (36%) researched three or more sites before making a purchase.

“We support many technology clients who are building solutions to improve the multi-channel experience,” said Santoro. “We wanted to find the true impact of showrooming and the results demonstrated a much more significant impact than we expected. Consumers are willing to spend more time on research, both in-store and online, to find better deals.”

Smartphone Owners Stay Home on Black Friday

According to the study, although Black Friday is well known for in-store shopping, the vast majority of consumers (80%) plan to purchase online on Black Friday and only 30 percent plan to shop in-store. Nearly 87 percent of participants said the results of the election would not impact their spending this holiday season.

Most Research and Buying Happens in November, But 10 Percent Still Shopping on Christmas Eve

The study also revealed key insights into when smartphone owners begin the holiday shopping process. Among any other month, November is the most popular for consumers to begin researching products online (40%) and purchasing gifts (56%),A quarter of consumers purchase their last holiday gift between December 21 and 23rd, and one-in-ten consumers’ buy gifts on Christmas Eve.

“With the majority of consumers starting research already, retailers need to make sure their digital offerings are optimized to mitigate revenue loss from showrooming,” said Santoro. “One effective strategy is offering online coupons, especially through an email campaign. In the last three months, we found 88% of consumers used an email coupon, 58 percent searched for a coupon online, and 50 percent used print or catalog mail coupons.

Smartphone Holiday Shopping Results

88 Percent of Smartphone Users Interact with Brands on Social, Mobile

The vast majority of smartphone users (88%) have interacted with one or more brands through social media or on the mobile site in the last three months:

  • 65 percent viewed a brand’s mobile website
  • Nearly 42% have scanned a brand’s QR code
  • 61 percent “Liked” a brand on Facebook
  • 1/4 have followed a brand on Twitter
  • Nearly 15 percent have tweeted about a brand
  • 1/3 have “checked in” to stores using FourSquare, Facebook and other location-based applications

“Social interaction is important to improve loyalty and make critical connections with consumers,” said Santoro. “Consumers place a greater emphasis on research and information than ever before. When brands provide value on social media and mobile through rewards, deals and relevant information, this level of engagement can drive significant growth.”

View the 2017 Future of Retail report video here.

The Walker Sands Holiday Shopping Survey

The Walker Sands Holiday Shopping Survey contains results from 500 consumers with smartphone devices on their spending during the past year, and holiday spending plans for 2012.

Walker Sands works with a large variety of retail technology companies. Similar research is often assembled for these clients through the Walker Sands analytics team.

About Walker Sands
Walker Sands Communications is a full-service marketing and public relations firm specializing in media relations for technology companies ranging from startups to enterprise-level software providers. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, Walker Sands was founded in 2001 to provide marketing support for a wide array of companies, from tech startups to large Fortune 500 brands. In 2012 Walker Sands was named a PR News and Bulldog Reporter finalist for Small Agency of the Year. To learn more, visit