July 24, 2013, 2:59 PM

Most smartphone users engage in showrooming in stores

Most of those consumers will buy in-store if the store matches Amazon’s price.

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58% of adult smartphone users regularly engage in showrooming, the mobile commerce practice of checking out products in person in stores while comparing prices on smartphones or later at home online, finds a survey of 1,043 U.S. adult smartphone users by parago, a rewards and incentives company. And the m-commerce site and mobile app of Amazon.com Inc. is the resource most used by shoppers to compare online and store prices, the survey says.

“Shopping behavior has fundamentally changed,” says Rodney Mason, chief marketing officer at parago. “The combination of growing smartphone use, consumer determination to find the lowest price, and the ability to make purchases on smartphones while in-store is resulting in brick-and-mortar retailers losing buyers to savvy e-retailers like Amazon. Even the retailer practice of offering items and SKUs exclusive to the retailer is being worked around, as shoppers are now being served up similar items at lower prices on their smartphones, and they are buying them.”

The survey finds that:

  • Amazon is used twice as often for showrooming as the No. 2 option, Google Inc. And 46% of shoppers who use Amazon to showroom are members of Amazon Prime, the e-retailer’s free shipping and video streaming program that costs $79 a year.
  • A price difference of just $5 can sway shoppers from in-store to Amazon purchasing.
  • The majority of showrooming shoppers will buy a similar but not identical item that they find on their smartphone if it is significantly cheaper.
  • 67% of showrooming shoppers will buy from a bricks-and-mortar store over Amazon when the store matches Amazon’s price.
  • Shoppers engage in showrooming across a variety of retail categories, including apparel, appliances, automotive, building supplies and tools, electronics, entertainment, housewares, and office supplies.

While price is king in showrooming, consumers do weigh other factors. 46% of shoppers who engage in showrooming say price is the most important consideration, 28% say customer reviews, 13% expert reviews, 11% product information and 3% social media comments, the survey says.

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