MarketLine Blog

Showrooming on the rise as Christmas approaches

Savvy shoppers looking to save money on expensive Christmas gifts are increasingly using smartphones in stores to read product barcodes and instantly find the best price online. This trend, whereby consumers effectively use bricks-and-mortar stores purely as a display stand with little intent of buying is on the rise in the UK as Christmas approaches.

The trend, known as ‘showrooming’ is particularly impacting stores that sell items such as consumer electronics, DVDs and music as cheaper places to buy online are often not hard to find. Figures publicized by ITV News show that 28% of UK shoppers now use smartphones to compare prices while in a shop, 10% higher than for the same period last year. More worryingly for high street retailers, 9% then proceed to purchase the item elsewhere.

Music and video retailer HMV has warned that if showrooming  continues to increase in popularity, the very existence of certain specialist stores could be threatened . While it is still early to tell if this will happen on a widespread scale, the demise in recent years of long-established retailers such as Comet (consumer electronics) JJB Sports (sportswear store) and Woolworths (general merchandise store) suggests that the high street is indeed in decline.

Retailers are therefore right to be concerned, although pureplay internet players such as Amazon are understandably happy to grow their business while somebody else pays the rent. In short, stores are now seemingly not only there for the convenience of their customers but also to benefit their online rivals.

For further information on the online retail industry, see MarketLine’s Global Online Retail Industry Profile here

For further information on the rise of internet retailers, see MarketLine’s Case Studies:

Play.com: The Rapid Rise of the Internet Retailer: Click here

Posted in Consumer, Retail.

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