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Amazon’s Threat Overstated, Survey Shows

While there’s no question that Amazon.com is siphoning off sales from physical stores, retailers’ biggest competitors still remain … other retailers. 3/12/2013 01:30:00 PM

While there’s no question that Amazon.com is siphoning off sales from physical stores, retailers’ biggest competitors still remain … other retailers.

A recent survey of 1,000 consumers by market research firm ClickIQ showed that Amazon isn’t always the biggest beneficiary of showrooming, and that Best Buy isn’t the only big-box chain facing the phenomenon.

What’s more, the results indicate that online purchases made as a result of showrooming are down 31 percent this year, to 20 percent of in-store mobile shoppers, and that Best Buy, Target and Walmart, which are most frequented for in-store research, made significant gains in keeping the sale from Amazon.

According to the poll, 20 percent of 368 respondents who researched a product while at a Best Buy store said they wound up purchasing the item at Target — twice the number of those who bought the product on Amazon (10 percent).

Amazon tied with Walmart, where another 10 percent completed the sale.

As for the world’s largest retailer, Walmart lost nearly as much to Target as did Best Buy. Of the 395 respondents who researched a product while at a Walmart store, 18 percent ultimately bought it at Target  and only 14 percent at Amazon, followed by Best Buy with 7 percent of the conversions.

Although it might appear that Target is the winner here, the No. 2 discount chain did not come out unscathed: Of the 352 respondents who researched at a Target store, 14 percent purchased the product at Walmart, 7 percent at Best Buy, and 13 percent at Amazon, although that’s down from a 21 percent defection rate last year.

Overall, Amazon still claimed the biggest piece of the pie, winning 13 percent of all respondents’ sales. Many said they made their online purchases while still in a store, and only a very small percentage ended up purchasing through a physical retailer’s website.

Indeed, only 3 percent of customers who showroomed at Best Buy made their purchase at BestBuy.com, down from 14 percent last year, while Walmart.com retained 4 percent of mobile comparison shoppers, down from 10 percent last year.

Target.com had the worst conversion rate, with less than 1 percent of showroomers purchasing from the site, down from 8 percent in 2012.

However, the chains fared much better at retaining sales in-store. Of those that researched products at Best Buy, 35 percent purchased the product at the Best Buy store, flat from last year, while Walmart kept 35 percent of showroomers’ sales in the house, up from 26 percent in 2012.

Unlike online, Target did the best job of retaining customers in-store, with fully 43 percent of mobile comparison shoppers purchasing the product on site, up from 29 percent last year.

Of those respondents who did ultimately purchase online (24 percent), a little more than half reported not paying sales tax, while 65 percent of those said the tax savings had at least some influence on their purchasing decision.

What’s more, those who showroom do so quite often. When asked how many products they researched while in the retail store with their mobile device within the past 3 months, 80 percent said they had researched at least three products and 43 percent had researched five or more items.

ClickIQ collected the data in an online survey of its U.S. consumer panel Jan. 30 to Feb. 7. Respondents must have shopped in a retail store within the past 3 months, own a mobile device, and used it while at a brick-and-mortar store to research a product, and have since purchased the researched product. The survey results have margin of error of +/-5 percent at a 95 percent confidence level, ClickIQ said.

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