Forty percent of Americans have 'showroomed'--examined a product in a store, then bought it online--with Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target most popular showrooming retailers, Amazon most popular online purchasing destination: Harris Poll

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Jun 4, 2013 – PR Newswire

NEW YORK , June 4, 2013 (press release) – Despite brick and mortar retailers' best efforts to keep consumers buying in-store, forty percent of Americans have "showroomed," or tested out a product up close in a store but then purchased it online. Showrooming was a hot topic back in December, as many shoppers were using the tactic during the holiday shopping season to snag the best prices. According to a recent Harris Poll, which set out to determine whether the issue still remains, Best Buy, Walmart and Target are the most likely brick and mortar stores to get showroomed, with 23%, 21% and 12%, respectively, of showroomers choosing these stores to most frequently physically examine goods before buying online.


Among these showroomers:

Men prefer showrooming at Best Buy over Wal-Mart or Target (28%, 19% and 10%, respectively)
Women's first showrooming destination is Wal-Mart (23%), followed by Best Buy (17%) and Target (14%)
Men's average spend the last time they showroomed ($210.10) is significantly higher than women's ($137.10)

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,114 U.S. adults surveyed online from April 15-17, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full findings and data tables available here)

Death of a Salesman

Amazon continues to be showroomers' dominant destination, with 57% identifying the online retail giant as site where they most often make their showrooming purchases.

"You've got to hand it to Amazon: they are truly a retail darling that knows how to deliver on customer expectations," said Mike de Vere , President of the Harris Poll. "The company led the rankings in our annual Reputation Quotient study, as well as taking the E-Retailer Brand of the Year title in our annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study; these results further stress the company's clout, by displaying its ability to pluck customers right from their competitors' stores."

What reasons cause consumers to buy online? Are pushy salespeople preventing customers from completing their purchases? Almost six in ten showroomers with smartphones (59%) prefer looking up product information on their phone to asking a salesperson for help.

Give 'Em What They Want

How can brick and mortar retailers change consumers' behavior and get them to make their purchases in stores? A majority of showroomers (57%) will be more likely to make purchases in brick and mortar stores that have implemented permanent price matching policies in order to compete with online retailers. Retailers can also benefit from allowing consumers to place orders online that can then be picked up in a physical store – half of Americans (50%) have made purchases this way, and nearly all of those who have (93%) report being satisfied with the process. What offerings won't bring consumers in? The idea of charging consumers to physically examine a product in a store before purchasing at a different online retailer proved to be unpopular, with only 15% of consumers willing to be charged for showrooming.

Over eight in ten Americans consider the following factors to be very important or important when deciding to purchase in a store rather than online:

Being able to take the item home immediately (86%)
Taking advantage of sales in store vs. prices online (84%)
Not having to deal with the hassles of returning online such as paying for shipping and/or having to pack item (83%)
Ability to touch and feel item (83%)

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between April 15 and 17, 2013 among 2,114 adults (aged 18 and over), among whom 824 have showroomed. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #32, June 4, 2013

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

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