The outlook for using the Internet to research purchases before going to local stores, otherwise known as web-to- store (W2S) shopping, is stronger than online e-commerce, according to new research released by The Dieringer Group (The DRG).
The 2005 U.S. Web2Store Benchmark Survey was commissioned by ShopLocal.com. The study, which measured shopping patterns during the last three months of 2004, found W2S shoppers spend $1.60 offline for every dollar they spend online. Affluent shoppers spend $1.98 at local retailers for each $1 they spend online.
From a sample of 1101 US consumers, The DRG estimates 83.4 million US consumers made offline purchases impacted by online information during 2004, up 19 percent from the previous year. Approximately 80 million shoppers used the Internet during the fourth quarter for W2S shopping, said The DRG.
"This is the most in-depth study ever conducted to understand the perceptions, activities and motives of W2S shoppers," said Brian Hand, president and CEO of ShopLocal.com.
"Based on these results, it's clear shoppers prefer to use the Internet to find and better understand what they want to buy before making their purchases at local stores. This benchmark research drives the conclusion that the outlook for W2S shopping is stronger than online e-commerce and has enormous potential for all retailers, from national brands to small stores."
The DRG's Thomas Miller said: "Not everybody wants to buy everything online," referring to research findings that among all W2S shoppers, 70 percent say they do more W2S shopping now than they did a year ago and 48 percent plan to do more W2S shopping in 2005.
"Trust, efficiency and a desire to save time and money while making informed purchasing decisions are traits W2S shoppers share," said Miller.
W2S shoppers rely on the internet nearly twice as much for local purchasing information as compared to traditional shopping information media, such as newspapers advertisements and inserts, local television and radio ads, and other media, said the ShopLocal.com sponsored research.