Ahead of ‘Cyber Week,’ Most Consumers Still Prefer Stores

While holiday sales have already begun, next week is the much-anticipated official start to the holiday shopping season. Analysts and pundits will be watching the numbers during “cyber week” to track e-commerce growth.

A generally good economy promises increases for both online and offline retail. However, there are multiple projections that a higher percentage of consumer budgets will be spent online this year.

For example, a survey of 1,500 shoppers from Euclid found that a large majority say they will spend the bulk of their holiday budgets online — especially at Amazon. And roughly 23% of the survey sample will spend at least three-fourths of their money online.

The media and many analysts tend to treat online and offline shopping as entirely distinct, opposing forces. However, the reality of consumer behavior is more complex. Indeed, Euclid in its report points out that there is a growing audience that visits stores to interact with or see products in person and then buys online.

Euclid offline to online shopping

While it’s not clear whether these shoppers (chart above) are buying from the same retailers, on Amazon or somewhere else, it’s probably a safe assumption that the bulk of these purchases are products viewed in the store and bought online from the same retailers.

Google research from earlier this year found “61% of shoppers would rather shop with brands that have a physical location than ones that are online only.” And sales data consistently show that the majority of top-ten “online retailers” are traditional retail brands with stores, with the exception of Amazon, eBay and one or two others.

Finally, younger shoppers (Millennials, Gen Z) are even more likely to show preferences for brands with offline locations. That’s part of the reason a host of “direct to consumer” brands have opened physical retail locations over the past several years. It’s also why Facebook and Macy’s are hosting pop-up shops for SMB online retailers.

Stores provide shoppers with more “confidence” to buy online (see and return products). And while this channel agnosticism is clear among retail shoppers, retailers themselves have yet to fully integrate their online and offline divisions to provide the kind of customer experience that most consumers really want.

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