No one can deny that online shopping has grown faster than Justin Bieber’s social media following. So what does the future hold for brick-and-mortar retailers? And has online shopping reached a plateau? Research conducted by various sources* tells us that, finally, online versus in-store purchases are beginning to balance each other out.
STANDING IN-LINE VS. SHOPPING ONLINE
First things first: What are people buying online? Tied for the highest percentage of online commerce are the electronics and music/video industries, both at about 74%. The latter comes as no surprise, with songs and movies so easily downloadable from companies like iTunes and Amazon. There is little chance that this arm of the entertainment industry will ever return to the brick and mortar marketplace. Sorry Sam Goody.
Following these are office supplies (68%), clothing (63%), furniture (66%), toys and games (60 %) and books and magazines (58%).
With discounts as well as free and fast shipping options, companies going online for purchases is a simple option that brings their needs right to their door.
Clothing retailers often have shipping discounts, or no shipping fees policies, after you spend a certain amount. But, if the clothes don’t fit right it can be a somewhat tedious process to return/reorder a better size, etc.
Amazon carries almost everything, and they have put retailers, specifically bookstores, in danger (and even some out of business). Toys and Games as well as Books and Magazines having a larger percentage of sales online is no surprise considering how large Amazon has become. Simply put, Amazon offers almost everything at rock bottom prices – so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to compete.
WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR IN-STORE INDUSTRY?
The most overwhelming preference for in store shopping is Drugs and Health Aids, at 91.2%. This has the highest preference out of any category, making online purchases scarce in this industry. Maybe it’s the fear of identity theft when insurance is involved, or health products or too personal for the Internet. Whatever it is, there seems to be no threat to brick and mortar operations in this industry.
INDUSTRIES THAT ARE TOO CLOSE TO CALL
With the emergence of online grocery stores and services, some are beginning to wonder if traditional supermarkets will soon be in danger. However, many consumers have reported that they won’t buy any fresh products from online services (such as meat, produce, dairy and fish).
When it comes to Computer Hardware and Software 52% tend to shop in store.
Online and in-store shopping both have unique aspects that neither can replace. What drives a consumer in-store or online depends on the product, the person and the need. While they each have their own benefits and disadvantages, for now they’re both here to stay.
* US Census Bureau, Marketing Daily, CSA