New York, NY—Good news for America’s brick-and-mortar retailers: the majority of consumers still prefer to shop in person. But consumers who prefer to shop online are more likely to be affluent and to live in more populated areas.
According to figures from the National Retail Federation’s quarterly Consumer View study, more than three-fourths (78%) of consumers are shopping in stores either about the same amount or more than they did a year ago. More importantly, younger generations — Millennials and Gen Z — are visiting stores more. Roughly half (49%) of Millennials/Gen Zers NRF surveyed said they’re shopping in stores more often than they were a year ago.
79% of consumers overall describe themselves as predominantly in-store shoppers, and 21% as predominantly online shoppers. (The NRF study defines “predominantly” as those who typically make more than half their purchases in-store or online.) Where differences in shopping habits emerge, however, are income, urban vs. rural, and, unsurprisingly, age.
Affluent, urban consumers are the most likely to be predominantly online shoppers. 53% of respondents earning $75,000 or more described themselves as predominantly online shoppers, and 53% of those who live in areas with more than 50,000 residents also described themselves as predominantly online shoppers. 33% of those consumers also are likely to subscribe to an online subscription delivery service such as Blue Apron or Birchbox.
Chart: National Retail Federation
Among those respondents earning less than $75,000, 71% said they’re predominantly in-store shoppers, and 63% of those living in towns of fewer than 50,000 also are predominantly in-store shoppers. Very few—8%—of these consumers subscribe to online subscription services.
Translating personal values into shopping behavior also is more common among online shoppers than in-store shoppers. Almost half (48%) of predominantly online shoppers said they research a brand’s values before buying and 45% would stop buying a brand if it contradicts their values, compared with 13% and 23%, respectively, of in-store shoppers.
Among all consumers, however, omnichannel matters: 74% of consumers said they typically go to a store to buy something specific rather than browse, and the ability to buy online and pick up or return in-store, apps, and mobile payment improved their shopping experience.
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