One of the year’s hottest topics for retailers worldwide is even more important during the holiday shopping season: How should merchants respond to a new consumer behavior called “showrooming,” i.e., when consumers visit physical stores to try products, but then check a mobile device for the best price online? Could showrooming signal the beginning of the end for physical retailer stores? Evidence suggests that Cyber Monday may already be surpassing Black Friday in terms of popularity.

To better understand the magnitude of showrooming and analyze the trend going forward, Aprimo teamed up with Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru to develop a consumer survey. Here are a few of our key takeaways:

One in five consumers is now showrooming, and of those consumers already showrooming, 33 percent say they ultimately used the information to buy from a competitor.

The showrooming trend is just getting started, and it’s ready to explode – one third of those who have not used their smartphones for in-store research haven’t done so simply because the idea hadn’t yet occurred to them.

Showrooming isn’t just for big ticket items – while consumer electronics are the most popular items price-checked in store (39 percent), groceries (37 percent) are the second-most researched and apparel/footwear (33 percent) came in third.

Showrooming behavior pays off for retailers with lower prices – more than half of those surveyed report discovering lower prices online than in the store. Only eight percent recall seeing higher prices.

Showrooming behavior changes from one industry to another, and even along gender/age lines. Retail preferences are quite distinct between men and women and among varying age ranges. Several retail categories are also significantly more prone to showrooming than others.

What does the data say to you? Will physical retail stores be able to overcome the showrooming trend? And if so, how? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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