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Press release
Retail|Shopper|United States|English

“Webrooming” May Be the Silver Lining for Canadian Retailers This Holiday Season – GfK FutureBuy® Shopping Study


Close to half of Canadians are using their smartphones to research a product before they go in store to buy



While “showrooming” has been getting all the hype, “webrooming” may save the day for Canadian retailers, according to GfK’s 2014 FutureBuy® global study of shopping habits and preferences.


Click here to download highlights from FutureBuy 2014 (Canada).

The much-hyped notion of smartphone showrooming (going in-store to touch and feel a product, only to buy it online) is sitting at 15% of Canadian smartphone users. However, the phenomenon of “webrooming” shows strong adoption – 40% of Canadian smartphone users are buying in store after completing their pre-purchase homework on their devices.

Reports of using a smartphone to “webroom” were 21 to 37 percentage points more common than those for showrooming across the generations.  (See Table 1) While “showrooming” appears to decrease with age, “webrooming” on smartphones is more universal – apparently becoming a more established part of shopping, regardless of age. 

Table 1. Showrooming versus Webrooming Using a Smartphone
(% reporting behavior in past 6 months)

  Gen Z
(18 to 24)
Gen Y
(25 to 34)
Gen X
(35 to 49)
 Boomers (50 to 68)
Showrooming 28% 15% 12% 11%
Webrooming 33% 36% 49% 37%

Omni-channel activities, in which Canadians leverage both online and more traditional offline channels during their shopping journeys, are pervasive.  For big-ticket buys such as new TVs, or smaller purchases such as beauty and personal care items, Canadians are combining online and in-person activities when making a purchase decision. For example, 47% of Canadians are taking an omni-channel approach to shopping for home appliances.

Among the top reasons that Canadians cite for going into a store to make a purchase are: “See and feel before buying” (53%), “Get products sooner” (50%), and “Hassle-free returns” (37%).

“Digital shopping and buying in all their forms have clearly made a big impact on Canadian consumers,” said Chris Thorne, Vice President of GfK Canada. “Although the US is ahead in adopting omni-channel behavior, Canadians are integrating mobile devices into routine shopping activities – a trend we expect to accelerate in the coming years. Even lower-cost categories such as Health and Beauty will see online research and purchase become more important elements of the shopping mix.”    

Established in 2009, FutureBuy® is GfK’s exclusive survey of shopper attitudes and behaviors. The 2014 survey covers 17 countries and 15 categories, including FMCG, domestic appliances, home improvement and mobile phones, and a variety of shopper topics – from omni-channel behavior to leading-edge consumers and mobile payments.