Study: More than 40% of smartphone and tablet owners ‘showroom’

Whiting, Ind. — An online consumer survey shows that nearly half of consumers go into brick-and-mortar stores with their smartphones to research items without buying them and then looked for the same item at a lower price online.

The 2,361-adult survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin.com between Sept. 18 and 20, found that 43% of smartphone and tablet owners have engaged in the practice, known as "showrooming."

Of the shoppers who have showroomed, nearly all have sometimes or often bought a showroomed item online for a lower price later on, according to the survey; 28% of respondents said they did this often, while 68% said they do it sometimes. Forty-four percent said they were "not at all" concerned that showrooming may drive brick-and-mortar retailers out of business, while 41% said they were somewhat concerned, and 15% said they were very or extremely concerned.

"Consumers are using technology to find as many ways to save as possible, and showrooming is a prime example of that," CouponCabin.com president and chief savings officer Jackie Warrick said. "As showrooming becomes more widespread, some stores are concerned and are changing their strategies, offering new incentives and providing special offers to keep shoppers buying at their retail locations."

When asked what kinds of items they had showroomed, 50% of respondents said home electronics, while 44% said tech devices. Meanwhile, 40% said they showroomed entertainment items; 31% said they showroomed clothing; 29% said they showroomed shoes; and 24% said they showroomed computers.