WASHINGTON -- Brick-and-mortar stores remain the cornerstone of American retail and aren’t declining anytime soon, as more than 75% of consumers frequent traditional stores just as often or more so than they did a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation’s Consumer Views—a new quarterly report designed to measure consumer behavior and shopping trends.
The inaugural report, which tracked over 3,000 consumer responses between July 20 and 25, found that despite the growth of e-commerce, only about one-fifth of U.S. consumers are primarily online shoppers. Additionally, 79% of consumers say they purchase half or less of their items online, further contributing to brick-and-mortar’s success.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said it’s consumers’ desires for authentic interactions and experiences with retailers that have sparked traditional stores to thrive. “Despite the changes in our industry, there is an appeal to seeing and touching merchandise in person and being able to engage with fellow human beings that has yet to go away,” he said. “Even younger shoppers see the value of the store.”
The study shows that only 34% of millennial and Generation Z consumers are primarily online shoppers, and it appears that younger, wealthier consumers comprise the bulk of these patrons. The survey found 49% of online shoppers are aged 18-34, and 53% of them make $75,000 a year or more. However, brick-and-mortar locations remain heavy favorites, as 69% of all consumers said they visit a store because they need something right away, and 65% wanted to see an item before purchasing.
Frequent brick-and-mortar users note that they enjoy technologies that transform the in-store experience. Per the report, 66% of consumers who used in-app store navigation said it had a positive impact, and 65% said the same for using mobile payments. This will influence operators to continue tech innovation. Casey’s General Stores, for instance, recently announced its mobile app had surpassed 1 million downloads since its January 2016 launch. On the contrary, 44% of patrons said in-store digital displays had no impact on their shopping experience, and 43% said the same regarding employees’ use of smartphone tablets.