NEW YORK: Consumers shopping for technology products still prefer to purchase items in stores despite the growth of online shopping in recent years, according to a study commissioned by Citizen Relations.
The Citizen Tech survey, conducted by Vision Critical’s Customer Intelligence Platform, found that 64% of Americans are "webrooming," or comparing products online and then purchasing them at a retail location.
By comparison, only 32% of Americans surveyed are "showrooming," or comparing products in a store and then buying them online.
Nearly 2,500 adults in the US and Canada took part in the online study, conducted between June 5 and June 10. Citizen Relations is planning to release a second part of the results this winter focused on consumer attitudes and behavior after they purchase an item.
The report also found an increase in "mob-aisling" – pronounced "mo-bil-ing" – a word coined by the firm to show the combination of webrooming and showrooming behaviors, said Erin Georgieff, MD of Citizen Relations’ US consumer technology practice.
More than 15% of participants said they are mob-aisling, or using a mobile device while in a store to compare prices and product specs.
This rising trend "is something that marketers should really be capitalizing on when it comes to their channel strategy," said Georgieff.
"All of the discussion about omni- and multi-channel strategies is very much true, and retailers and tech manufacturers need to be thinking about every point of engagement during that customer journey to purchase," she added.
Another key survey takeaway is that 80% of Americans prefer to see how a tech product or service plays out before purchasing it. Georgieff said launching a gadget in a big way is important, but communicators need to focus on the longevity of the PR strategy and find ways to pulse out stories over time, rather than just at the launch.
Georgieff said the survey also revealed that consumers often ask younger generations about technology products. More than one-third (34%) of respondents said they get their information about new products from technology news and reviews, followed by 27% through word of mouth, and 23% via brand advertising.
Both early adopters, a group made up of 18- to 34-year-olds who are open to trying new technologies at launch, and those older than 34 who prefer to see how a product is received, mostly turn to tech news and reviews for information.
"Laggards," or those 55-years-old and older who adopt technology last, mostly rely on word-of-mouth or friends and family for insights on tech products and services.