Although online shopping continues to take a growing share of total retail sales, web retailers still need to be aware of why some consumers prefer to go into a store. Some key reasons were revealed in a survey published in January by Allurent, a Massachusetts-based firm that develops rich applications for web retailers. Respondents were all "online shoppers" (i.e. they look online for products and information but may still buy in a store) and they were asked their opinions during the busy holiday shopping period.
A significant number of online shoppers felt there was no substitute for understanding products through sensory evaluation (54 percent). Shoppers also said it was easier to discover new products by browsing in a store (48 percent) and to get customer assistance in person (40 percent). These responses came from internet users, so it is fair to assume that the same questions put to shoppers who never browse or buy on the internet would see at least some of the same key responses, probably at even higher rates.
eMarketer is the "first place to look" for market research information related to the internet, e-business, and online marketing.