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In-Store Gets the Cold Shoulder, as More Women Favor Web Buying

Few still primarily research products in-store

The benefits of shopping via digital channels—convenience, low prices and the ability to browse vast inventories—has brought a fast-growing number of people into the ecommerce marketplace. And women, often the chief shoppers of the household, are at the forefront of this transition.

Women's network SheSpeaks and female-oriented marketing firm Lippe Taylor surveyed over 2,000 US female internet users in March 2013 and found that only 6% reported still researching products primarily in-store, while another 5% asked friends and family for recommendations most often. The rest—89% in total—did their browsing mostly on the web, either via desktop (71%) or on mobile devices (18%).

There is no question that for retailers trying to reach women early in the purchase path, online is the place to be.

Women’s digital shopping activity moved seamlessly into purchasing as well. While a significantly larger 45% of women said they still made most purchases in-store, a greater 47% bought via desktop and laptop most often, and another 8% were most likely to buy on mobile.

Although that is still a small share making mcommerce purchases, mobile devices are playing an ever-increasing role in other stops along the purchase path among women. Just over a majority of respondents said they used their mobile device to find store locations and hours, privileging the devices for immediate, on-the-go info.

But mobile also played a role in the deep research phase. Just under half of the women surveyed said they used their mobile device to look up and compare prices, and 41% used the phone or tablet to get detailed product info. Forty-six percent also looked for coupons on mobile.

And even if only 8% mostly bought on mobile, 24% reported having made a purchase via the device at some point.

The home still trumped work as the place to research products. Only 9% of women reported most often researching products for personal use while on the job. Instead, about 40% of women said they researched products at home during the day, and about the same percentage reported researching products at home at night.


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