61% of consumers globally are more likely to browse for new products online compared to in-store. In addition, they also find it easier (64%) and more enjoyable (54%). However, when it comes to actually purchasing the products they are not so sure. Although the majority are browsing and discovering new products online, people are more likely to make spontaneous spur-of-the-moment purchases whilst shopping in-store, according to InternetRetailing.
The allure of convenience (60%), ease (48%) and greater product choice (46%) makes online an appealing destination to browse for products. However, some shoppers still want to physically feel and see an item before committing to purchase. This physical experience is the most popular reason shoppers choose to browse in-store compared to online, highlighting a need for brands and retailers to build greater online trust and confidence through the use of user-generated content (UGC).
Smartphones are the top device for browsing online
Across devices, smartphones are the top choice for browsing online for over half of consumers (52%). This is followed by laptops (23%), and desktop (11%) computers. With immediate access at the fingertips of consumers, they spend more time browsing for products online compared to in-store. The majority of those shopping online (53%) spending more than 15 minutes browsing in a single session. This compares to just over a third (38%) spending the same amount of time browsing in shops.
46% of consumers are making weekly online purchases
The continued accessibility of essential retail amidst national restrictions means that when it comes to committing to a purchase, 71% of consumers buy in-store at least once a week. On the other hand, 46% is making weekly online purchases. Equally, almost two-thirds (64%) of British consumers are likely to buy a spur-of-the-moment item while shopping in-store. This is compared to 51% likely to do so online. Ultimately, consumers are still likely to spend the same amount on a spontaneous purchase regardless of being online or in-store.
User-generated content transforms browsing into buying
Brand and retailer websites have a certain advantage over the likes of Amazon and Google. This is because they are not only able to customise and make landing pages relevant. They are also able to ensure that a website experience replicates the in-store buying experience. In fact, brands’ images on a website are more likely to lead to the discovery and purchase of new products for over a third of consumers (35%). This is compared to internet searches on sites such as Google (29%).
Ultimately, consumers want full confidence in their online purchases. Putting a great deal of importance on ratings and reviews. Product reviews are the top thing consumers want to see from a brand or retailer website experience. Moreover, ratings and reviews are one of the most important factors influencing consumers to discover and purchase new products online (44%), after price (71%).
A shift in consumer brand loyalty
The fluctuating availability of products during COVID-19 has caused an accelerated shift in consumer brand loyalty. The need to stick with tried and tested brands is diminishing. Furthermore, almost half of UK consumers (49%) would make an impulse purchase online from a brand they did not know. Comparing it to 26% who would not – almost a quarter were unsure either way. Impulse purchases from an unknown brand in-store – where consumers can see and feel a product prior to purchase – are much more likely (60%).
Ratings and reviews have become a key resource for UK consumers deciding whether to trust a brand or not. Almost three quarters (73%) relying on customer feedback to help certify the quality of a new product. This becomes even more critical considering that uncertainty about product quality is the main reason consumers wouldn’t test out a new brand.