The practice is called “showrooming,” and it’s especially popular among younger consumers. The IAB defines showrooming as “comparing prices on a mobile device while in a retail store before purchasing.”
The study found that shoppers usually end up buying a product in a physical store after researching it on mobile while in store, but it is often not the same physical store where the mobile research began. The next most likely scenario is to buy the product from another store’s website after leaving the store, using either a mobile phone or a personal computer.
The 18-34 crowd, or Millennials, behave differently than other shoppers, however. More than two thirds of shoppers in that age range engage in showrooming, and they’re more likely to buy the product at a competing store than other shoppers, the study found. Older shoppers are more likely to buy at the same store after checking prices on a mobile device.
The IAB study also confirmed some more general behavior patterns among mobile shoppers.
Millennials, the report said, are more likely to make purchases on smartphones than any other group. Forty-three percent said they do so. Consumers in other age groups are still more likely to make purchases on a tablet (35 percent) than on a smartphone (28 percent).
“With the holiday shopping season in full swing, consumers are turning to smartphones and tablets throughout the gift-buying process,” said Anna Bager, VP and general manager of mobile and video at IAB.
“This report spotlights contrasts in how different generations shop on digital — significant differences that need to be considered in brand marketers’ strategies,” Bager said.
The results come from an October 2015 online survey of 7,276 respondents and another annual survey of 16,228 respondents, the IAB said.