NRF reveals quarterly report on consumer behavior

Daily News Staff

Oct. 4, 2017

On Sept. 27, the National Retail Federation launched Consumer View, a quarterly report designed to gauge areas including consumer behavior and shopping trends related to stores, online channels, customer loyalty and technology.

“The retail industry is changing more rapidly than ever before, and this new vehicle will help us continue to regularly track those changes,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “Solid research is the basis of informed decisions, and we want to be sure the industry has the best information available as it seeks to meet consumers’ needs. That applies whether people are shopping in-store, online, on smartphones and tablets or with whatever innovation tomorrow brings.”

NRF is working with Toluna Analytics to produce the report. Toluna surveyed 3,002 consumers for NRF between July 20-25 to produce the initial edition. The results have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.8 percentage points.

The inaugural report finds that despite the growth of e-commerce, only about a fifth of U.S. consumers are primarily online shoppers; more than three-quarters are shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores just as much as or more than they did a year ago.

According to the report, 21 percent of consumers surveyed are primarily online shoppers, defined as those who purchase more than half of their items online. By contrast, 79 percent said they purchase half or less of their items online. Among the “Millennials” and “Generation Z,” 34 percent are primarily online shoppers, but the majority still make most of their purchases in stores.

Demographically, those who shop primarily online are younger, wealthier and more likely to live in a larger city. The survey found 49 percent are aged 18-34 compared with 72 percent of in-store shoppers aged 35 or older, while 53 percent of the online shoppers make $75,000 a year or more and 71 percent of in-store shoppers make less. And 53 percent of online shoppers live in a city of 50,000 people or more while 63 percent of store shoppers live in a smaller community.

Among shoppers overall, 69 percent said they go to a store because they need something right away and 65 percent wanted to see an item before purchasing. Among Millennials, 55 percent go to stores as a social activity, 50 percent to pick up an item bought online and 44 percent to talk to a sales associate. In both groups, 66 percent said they go to stores simply because they prefer to shop in stores.

Compared with a year ago, 50 percent of all consumers said they shop in stores about the same amount, while 28 percent said they do so more often, for a total of 78 percent. Only 22 percent shopped in stores less often. Among Millennials, 34 percent are shopping in stores about the same but 49 percent are doing so more often and only 17 percent less often. Millennials said they go to stores more often because a new store had opened, for entertainment or food options or because they are picking up items bought online.