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

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

Few still primarily research products in-store

April 12, 2013

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.

Method/Device Used Most to Research Products According to US Female Internet Users, March 2013 (% of total)

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.

Reasons that US Female Internet Users Use a Mobile Device for Shopping, March 2013 (% of respondents)

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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