Four fifths of shoppers prefer physical stores finds study

15th November 2017

More than four fifths of UK consumers prefer physical stores to online shopping, according to new research.

A study by IT services group Vista Retail Support has found that 81 per cent of UK shoppers see physical stores as vital to their shopping experience, and 70 per cent enjoy visiting stores to browse. Well over half (59 per cent) of respondents  prefer to find and buy goods in person, while 30 per cent are showroomers, using retail stores to decide on purchases before buying online.

Fewer than one fifth of respondents would be happy shopping exclusively online.

“It is clear that bricks and mortar stores are still very much the lifeblood of retail,” says Vista technical services director James Pepper. “Those who believed showrooming was the future of retail may have to think again. Our survey has found that the great majority of consumers prefer to use stores for everything from browsing to buying making returns.”

Consumers also says that exciting technology would entice them inside a store, with 61% saying they would visit regularly to use virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) applications, smart mirrors and interactive gaming. Half would buy more if they received recommendations and personalised offers on smart devices.

“The physical store is alive and kicking and set to be given a real uplift by the implementation of… new technologies,” adds Pepper. “Growth in online sales is widely reported, even though we know that online sales are not all they appear to be, as some retailers encourage customers in-store to use technology so that a transaction is credited as an online sale. Many purchases also start online and are completed in store, which is a growing trend.

“With such a large volume of online purchases being returned in-store the brick-and-mortar premises will continue to play a vital role, with huge potential efficiency and cost savings to be made by reducing false online purchases and expediting returns back onto hangers and shelves instore.”