While more than half of European online adults still don’t regularly buy products or services online, a quarter of them research their next purchase on the Internet before purchasing in a physical store, according to new research from Forrester. Using Forrester’s retail segmentation to analyze the shopping behavior of more than 22,000 consumers across seven European countries, the report shows that just because people don’t buy using their PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, it doesn’t mean that digital activities aren’t affecting their purchases. 

This growing group of “Researchers” represents an important opportunity for retailers in Europe, argues Forrester analyst Michelle Beeson. “To ensure customers do not turn to their competitors after researching with them online, retailers must optimize the entire purchase journey, not just online sales, and deliver a unified experience across multiple devices,” writes Beeson. “For example, general goods retailer Argos is one of several UK retailers that allow customers to check stock availability in a particular store and reserve items online for payment and collection in-store.”  

The findings show there is no single approach to targeting European shoppers, and retailers must understand the key nuances in shopping behavior across each country. For example:

  • Italy has the largest proportion of “Super-Shoppers” (20%) — consumers who regularly buy online through traditional devices as well as mobile or portable devices.
  • The UK continues to have the greatest proportion of “Traditional Web Shoppers” (31%) — consumers who regularly buy online through “traditional” devices, such as browser-based desktop or laptop PCs.
  • Almost two-thirds of French shoppers remain “Holdouts” — shoppers who don’t regularly research or buy online — or “Researchers” because of their concerns about sharing financial details.

To learn more about the new report, “European Retail Segmentation: Emerging Patterns Of Multitouchpoint Shopping,” see Michelle’s blog post.