Smartphone Use As Shopping Tool Changing Dramatically

The way people shop for products and compare prices has changed considerably since the growth of the Internet and the emergence of smartphones.

Two of the major trends that have unfolded are “webrooming” and “showrooming,” and a dramatic shift is taking place between these two shopping habits.

Webrooming is the process of looking for a product online or on a mobile device, and then buying the product in a store. Showrooming involves discovering a product in a store and then buying it elsewhere online.

While both shopping styles involve comparisons online, they start in two different places: the phone vs. the store.

According to the GfK 2014 FutureBuy survey, incidents of smartphone “showrooming” dropped from 37% in the United States last year to 28% in 2014. But the number of shoppers who make purchases in-store after researching an item using a smartphone has surged to 41%.

44% of shoppers combine online and in-person shopping activities in a process known as “ominchannel behavior.”

Omnichannel behavior was once mainly used for purchasing big ticket items, but it has become a popular choice for small purchases now as well. For instance, 39% of shoppers reported shopping online and in stores for personal care products, while 29% reported doing so for lawn and garden purchases.

Shoppers in the United States who decided to make their end-purchases in stores were compelled to do so because of the interactions they were able to have with the items. 58% used this shopping strategy because they could see and feel the product before buying, while 53% did so because they could get their products sooner. Those who chose to shop online did so because they could save money (61%), have an easier shopping experience (53%), and look through a better selection (46%).

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.