Brick-and-Mortar Stores Still Preferred by CE Purchasers: CEA

Brick-and-Mortar Stores Still Preferred by CE Purchasers: CEA


New York, New York—The 2013 CEA Market Research Summit at CE Week, held at the High Line Hotel and presented by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), producers of the International CES, provided attendees with timely intelligence on important market trends and transformations emerging in the consumer electronics industry.

While speakers covered a broad range of topics during the all-day event, key topics were the emergence of Ultra High Definition (Ultra HD) and the state of retail in the CE category.

In the afternoon panel on retail, moderated by Steve Smith, TWICE editor in chief, it was noted that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are still the preferred choice among CE purchasers. According to a new CEA study, despite the growth of online and mobile shopping, physical stores remain the overwhelming channel of choice for consumers when purchasing and researching electronics devices. Findings of the study were presented by Chris Ely, senior manager of Industry Analysis for the Consumer Electronics Association. “People still prefer human interaction,” he said.

Physical stores still appeal to shoppers because they also allow customers to get a hands-on feel for products. However, it was noted, shoppers are better educated before they arrive at the store because many of them have read about or researched products before in-store shopping.

According to the numbers in the CEA study, 73% of shoppers buy their electronics devices at physical stores and 72% use those showrooms to research their purchases. Brick-and-mortar was also the preferred venue for making a return among 83% of the consumer respondents, Ely cited. Other areas physical stores scored high in include: testing a product, 83%; resolving a problem with a purchase, 76%; and viewing a product demonstration, 75%.

Additionally, 86% of the consumers said they like taking advantage of the in-person assistance that brick-and-mortar affords, including 77% who consult with associates in-store before buying a product and 71% who seek their advice after making the purchase.

And despite the growing popularity of mobile shopping, 18% have made purchases from mobile-optimized websites, and 15% use mobile apps to place orders. For mobile users, access to coupons and other incentives is considered the most useful feature of shopping with smartphones and tablets (75%), followed by scanning barcodes for product information (68%) and access to product reviews (67%).

On the question of same-day delivery, the panelists agreed that brick-and-mortar retailers are probably well equipped to handle it. One audience member questioned why these retailers haven’t thought to offer this service before. He pointed out that pizza places have been doing it for years.