Retailers are increasingly reconfiguring their physical stores to support the multichannel shopper. Our Forrester Data: Showrooming Forecast, 2016 to 2021(EU-7) shows that three-quarters of EU-7 online sales, worth 126 billion euros in 2015 are impacted by offline research. Reverse-showrooming, where shoppers buy at a physical store following online research, is even more commonplace. Price is the overriding factor that drives showrooming behaviour. Our report analyses the factors that contribute to offline influence and its implications for multi-channel retailers:

  • Offline influence dominates the retail landscape. In 2015, more than 95% of retail sales in EU-7 either occurred offline or occurred online and were influenced by offline research. This figure is more than double the share of sales that occurred online or that occurred offline and were influenced by online research.
  • Declining foot traffic and high-street spending threatens in-store influence. In-store visits and sales advice from an in-store sales associate are key drivers of offline influence. In 2015, foot traffic in physical stores fell across UK, Germany and France and visits to UK high-street stores declined.
  • Retailers configure their offline stores for multi-channel retailing. Consumers who buy consumer electronics, clothes, toys and appliances are more likely to research their purchases both online and offline. For categories where consumers predominately purchase offline, like grocery or health products, or predominately purchase online, like music, consumers are less likely to use both online and offline sources to research their purchase.

The forecast analyzes multichannel shopper behaviour, influenced by both online and offline research, across 22 retail categories for the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden. The forecast complements Forrester's web-influenced retail sales forecast to help retailers understand consumers to optimize their online and offline presence. We will discuss this forecast in a Webinar that looks at the importance of showrooming in the context of the luxury goods market in Europe.