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Whether webrooming is a problem for retailers likely depends on what products they sell, according to research conducted in Canada by Yellow Pages.
For example, 72% of respondents researched electronics digitally when they purchased these items in stores—that is, they did the opposite of showrooming, webrooming. When internet users bought electronics online, they also tended to research online, at 75% vs. 25% who showroomed.
Yellow Pages found a similar pattern with purchases of appliances, automotive products, and games and toys, with furniture and sporting goods also leaning toward digital research, regardless of purchase location.
For other product categories, the story was flipped.
When it came to food, for example, 67% of those who purchased it digitally said they researched the items in brick-and-mortar stores. Among those who made food purchases in-store, digital research was even less common.
Other categories with a pattern similar to food, though less pronounced, including plants and gardening, hardware, health and beauty, and apparel.
So if research location tends to be the same regardless of purchase location, depending more on product category, what motivates internet users in Canada to make purchases in-store vs. online?
Internet users in Canada said they bought in-store most often because they wanted to see the actual product before purchasing. Another 44% appreciated the immediate access to a product in-store.
While online shopping is well known for its good deals—and 52% did say they shopped online for the prices—nearly 40% said they bought digitally in order to avoid having to go out.
eMarketer forecasts a total of 21.6 million digital shoppers ages 14 and up in Canada in 2016, along with a total of 18.7 million digital buyers.
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