Retail Decline Survey: Stores with Variety Remain Most Popular

The demise of retail stores in recent years has been well documented. Major chains like RadioShack and Payless have closed hundreds of stores while online retailers and businesses that have adapted to new trends and technology have thrived. In fact, a recent study from PwC suggests that the need for retail businesses to adapt to new technology could be more important than ever. So what do customers have to say about their changing shopping habits? We asked 1,000 respondents about their shopping preferences and how those preferences might impact the declining retail industry.

retail decline

Retail Decline

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest online survey, 39% of respondents said that they’ve made a purchase from a retail store within the past day. 45% have done so within the past week. 10% last purchased from a retail store in the past month. 5% said it’s been more than a month since they last made any purchases in retail stores. And just 1% said they aren’t retail consumers at all.

Food seems to be the most popular type of item purchased by retail consumers. 92% said that they normally purchase food items in stores as opposed to online. 63% said they usually buy clothing and accessories in stores. 56% buy home items in stores. 33% buy tech items in stores. And 25% buy books and entertainment in stores. Walmart and Target were by far the most popular retail stores among respondents.

Online Shoppers

On the other hand, 16% of respondents said that they’ve made purchases online in the past day. 44% have within the past week. And 29% have bought items online within the past month. In addition, 9% have made purchases on mobile devices within the past day. 19% have done so within the past week. And 18% have within the past month.

Books and entertainment was the most popular category where people seem to prefer shopping online or on mobile devices. But clothing, home items, and technology were also moderately popular. And Amazon, eBay and Walmart were the most popular sites and apps with online and mobile shoppers alike.

Changing Habits

In general, just 24% of respondents said that they shop in retail stores more often now than they did five years ago. But 81% said they shop online more often now than they did five years ago. And 52% shop on mobile devices more often now than they did five years ago. Additionally, 50% of respondents said that they consider shopping in stores to be convenient. 86% find shopping online to be convenient. And 52% consider shopping on mobile devices to be convenient.

According to Personality Radar, those who shop in retail stores regularly tend to be active and social consumers. But they’re also interested in trends, including online shopping. Since there’s a lot of overlap between those who shop online and in stores regularly, even those who have shopped in retail stores in the past day tend to be tech savvy consumers who also make online and mobile purchases often.

Key Takeaways

Retail shopping, while still popular, does seem to be in decline thanks in part to the growing popularity of online shopping. Consumers seem to consider online shopping to be significantly more convenient than shopping in stores, which has certainly been a factor in the decline in popularity. But there are still some types of items that consumers prefer buying in stores. For example, consumers prefer purchasing food items where they can actually see them and keep them fresh. And some also prefer buying clothes that they can see and try on in stores. Because of those factors, along with the added value of convenience, stores that sell a variety of different items seem to be the ones that are staying most relevant. So while it’s important for retail companies to adapt with new technology like ecommerce and mobile apps, it’s still possible to attract customers into stores. You just need to add value and convenience through variety and the overall shopping experience.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Store Closing by Random Retail under CC by 2.0

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on August 21 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Pilon
Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.