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IBM Survey: Shoppers Poised To Dramatically Expand Purchasing Power Beyond The Store

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- National Retail Federation Convention -- A new IBM (NYSE: IBM) study of 26,000 global consumers released today at the 2013 National Retail Federation Convention (#IBMNRF) found they are diversifying the way they shop for and acquire goods, becoming increasingly open to buying both online and in-store depending on their needs at time of purchase. While more than 80 percent of shoppers chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase, only half are committed to returning there next time they buy.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130115/NY42545-INFO)(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO)

IBM's research finds that consumers are in a transitional state. According to the study, 35 percent are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online. Nine percent are ready to commit to making future purchases online. Of all eight product categories tracked in the survey, the two most popular categories chosen by consumers for an online shift are consumer electronics and luxury items, including jewelry and designer apparel.

"Today's consumer is sophisticated and opportunistic, navigating between store and online environments interchangeably to meet their shopping needs of the moment," said Jill Puleri, Global Retail Leader, IBM Global Business Services. "To satisfy clients, retailers must deliver a consistent, convenient shopping experience across each consumer touch point, extending from the store to online and back again. The key is using data and analytics to better understand the behavior and preferences of shoppers to close the sale."

Understanding the Challenge -- and Opportunity -- of ShowroomingThe IBM study also found that nearly half of online purchases in studied categories resulted from "showrooming," a burgeoning trend in which consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online.

Significantly, nearly a quarter of these online shoppers intended to buy their item in the store, but ultimately purchased online – primarily due to price and convenience.

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