Savvy retailers are already investing in digital marketing to drive e-sales this holiday season, but a new study from Accenture indicates that the path to digital may come from in-store consumer behavior as well. According to Accenture’s annual holiday study released on Wednesday, 56% of shoppers this year will participate in a phenomenon called “showrooming.” Showrooming means that after seeing a product in a physical store, consumers will then search online for the best price and purchase directly from the e-tailer. 27% of respondents in the study even said that they are likely to make the purchase directly on their mobile or tablet device while still out shopping.

However, that doesn’t mean that fearful retailers should just shut down their connectivity in stores. In fact, that’s the exact opposite of what they should do, says Alison Paul, Vice Chairman at Deloitte, which also just released their annual holiday study. “Customers insist on connectivity and will leave the store if they don’t have it.” explains Paul. “And they’re not just checking prices — they’re also reading reviews, and photographing potential purchases to share with friends. Overall, 68% of the survey’s smartphone users say they intend to rely on them in some manner while shopping this holiday.” Indeed, an earlier study from Vibes shows that only 1/3 of mobile users are comparing the product against a competitor’s site while shopping. The rest are either reading reviews, looking up more info, or researching the website of the store they’re in. Deloitte’s study finds that despite the threat of showrooming, smartphone users will actually contribute 5% to store sales this year.

Though the two studies each paint a slightly different story on the effect of mobile on traditional commerce, one thing is clear: the prevalent use of smartphones is drastically changing the both consumer expectations and retailer strategies.

Image via CrimsonHexagon.

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