JULY 28, 2008
Checking purchases out before checkout
While some consumers in the US are shopping online to avoid driving, even those visiting stores in person are hitting the Web first.
Eight out of 10 respondents who had recently made consumer electronics purchases in a brick-and-mortar store said they had visited the store's Website first, according to a May 2008 Nielsen Online survey. More than one-half said they purchased from the retailer on whose Website they had spent the most time.
"Consumer electronics is an ideal product category to research online, since product features and prices can be easily compared," said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer.
If they had to choose just one method of researching their purchases, 58% of respondents said they would choose the Internet—far more than would choose their own friends and family.
"Retailers that are able to facilitate consumers' multichannel shopping behaviors will enjoy growth in market share across the enterprise," said Ken Cassar, vice president at Nielsen Online, in a statement.
Consumer electronics companies will likely pay special attention to multichannel consumer behavior during the economic slowdown. More than three in 10 online buyers surveyed in April 2008 by Piper Jaffray said they planned to decrease the amount of consumer electronics they purchased.
The two leading consumer electronics Web retailers—Best Buy and Circuit City—offer an option to buy online and pick up in-store, which satisfies consumers' craving for immediate gratification and avoidance of shipping fees.
"The retailers also benefit from consumers' tendency to make additional impulse purchases once they are in the store," Mr. Grau said.
Learn about current online buyer behavior. Read eMarketer's US Retail E-Commerce: Slower But Still Steady Growth report.