We all know online shopping is easy, but a 2017 Retail Dive Consumer Survey showed the majority of American consumers want the tactile experiences offered by physical stores. There’s just no competing with the advantages in-store shopping provides like being able to see and touch products and take them home immediately. Online shopping just can’t provide that.

The Retail Dive Consumer Survey showed by a fairly wide margin that the primary motivation for shopping in stores is to see and try out products before purchasing. However, some notable differences exist among shoppers, depending on their gender, age and location.
In particular, female shoppers overwhelmingly want to see, touch and feel products before buying them. Males, on the other hand, skew more toward the immediate satisfaction of taking items home with them.

Shoppers at both ends of the age spectrum — younger and older generations — want to see or try products out in stores more than their middle-aged counterparts. Young shoppers clearly convey an “I want it now” mentality versus older cohorts.


As the above graph illustrates, the ability to see, touch, feel and try out items is the top reason why consumers choose to shop in physical stores versus online. With 62% of shoppers wanting this convenience, retailers must deliver a compelling in-store experience.

Shoppers also want instant gratification. 49% of consumers say they choose stores over the web because they want “to take items home immediately.” This suggests that even next-day shipping — usually at a premium price if offered at all — cannot fully replicate the immediate gratification of buying products in store and taking them home immediately.

When breaking down the data from the survey further, significant differences exist between genders when deciding whether to shop online or in stores.


We can also see significant differences in shopping preferences by generation.


And, there are differences based on location.


Given the continued development of e-commerce capabilities, it’s crucial that brick-and-mortar retailers continue to put time into developing a physical store strategy. A compelling in-store shopping experience is a must to stay on top and keep winning consumer loyalty.