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New Research Buttresses
Brick-and-Mortar Role in Shopping

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

By Jennifer Marks

Is the retail industry in flux? Absolutely. Is competition from Amazon and other pure players putting bricks shopping in the shade? Not by a long shot, according to new consumer research recently released by the National Retail Federation.

The report, the first of a new quarterly series NRF is launching, found only 21% of consumers surveyed are primarily online shoppers, defined as those who purchase more than half of their items online. By contrast, 79% purchase half or less of their items online.

Among Millennials and Generation Z, 34% are primarily online shoppers, but the majority still make most of their purchases in stores. During a press conference at the NRF’s Shop.Org conference, the association pushed back hard on the “retail apocalypse” meme. Retail sales are up in the first six months of the year, and more stores are opening than closing.

Millennials in particular are drawn to visit new stores, stores that have added food or entertainment options and stores that offer in-person pickup for online orders. The survey found 49% are shopping in stores more often than they did a year ago, with 34% shopping in stores about the same. Only 17% of Millennials are shopping less often.

Among all consumers, 50% said they shop in stores about the same amount, while 28% said they do so more often, for a total of 78%. Only 22% shopped in stores less often. “Tech is making the biggest impact with consumers when it reduces friction and pain points in the store experience,” said Katherine Cullen, NRF director of Retail and Consumer Insights. Click & collect is key here, she said.

NRF found nearly 70% of consumers surveyed had heard of click & collect and half had already tried it. “The vast majority who tried said it improved their shopping experience,” she added.

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