Stats Prove Big Impact From Showrooming A Myth

Showrooming does not hurt retailers as much as some say

Statistics prove that showrooming has not drastically hurt the sale of consumer electronics at brick-and-mortar retailers.

“We have established that showrooming (as a factor) that’s really driving down the channel is a myth,” Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis for the Consumer Electronics Association, said during Retail Changes Holiday Edition: Debunking Showrooming and What to Expect for the Upcoming Holiday Season, a presentation that was part of the CEA Research Summit at the group’s Industry Forum in San Francisco.

CEA defines showrooming like this: A consumer walks into a retailer looking for a product, leaves without buying it, and ends up buying that product at a different e-tailer or brick-and-mortar retailer. It’s true, the analysts pointed out, that more consumers are using their smartphones while they’re shopping at a retailer, but they are not using them in great numbers to actually compare prices and buy the product from a different company.

To come up with their conclusion, analysts surveyed 47,000 people who shopped for a TV between Q2 of 2011 and Q2 of 2012 (the results were essentially the same for any CE product they bought). About 40 percent of them said they physically walked into a Best Buy store. About 5.9% of them said they left the store without buying and ended up purchasing the product elsewhere, with 2.3% buying from Amazon and 3.6% buying at another retailer or e-tailer.

The results were similar for consumers who physically shopped for a TV at a Wal-Mart: 6.2% of the consumers ended up buying the TV elsewhere, with 2.1% buying it from Amazon and 4.1% buying from another retailer or e-tailer. The percentage of consumers who bought from a company other than their original Best Buy or Wal-Mart destinations peaked at about 6.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and dropped almost two points in the second quarter of 2012.

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  • Tony Cuchiara

    Their statistics and survey DO NOT PROVE ANYTHING! You have to look at what was going on in the market place last year before you can make the assuptions that they are making. The reason more customers did not buy from other retailer was the fact that companies like Best Buy and Wal-mart were selling products at or below the prices on the internet. Why would a price conscious customer buy online when they can get it NOW for the same price or less. Their statistics only take into account what was happening to retailers top line. Which shows it was having only a minimal effect. But what the statistics do not show was the huge effect on retailers bottom line.

    Retail prices were so bad last year that on Black Friday I went to Sam’s Club and bought TV’s for 10 to 20% less than I could buy them through normal distribution channels.

    Retail prices were so bad in the second half of last year that it was almost impossible to compete with big box and internet retailers. By the end of the fourth quarter, retail prices on upper end TV’s were selling for 50% less than they were when they were introduced in the second quarter.

    Making the assumtions that are made from this survey is just looking at an incomplete picture of what was happening in the market place.