Products by category

How do consumers shop?

It’s no secret that in 2017 retailers are facing an increasingly challenging marketplace. How consumers want to shop – in addition to how much they want to spend – are strategic questions with no simple answers. While retailers grapple with providing a consistent shopping experience among channels, new kinds of competitors seem to pop up out of nowhere, further altering customer expectations and disrupting any hoped-for status quo. PwC’s 2017 Total Retail Survey explores global shoppers’ buying behavior and paths to purchase. This is the sixth consecutive year we have produced this global survey, which this year tracks shopper feedback from more than 24,000 consumers in 29 territories and 11 different product categories.
60% of global shoppers prefer to purchase books, music, movies and video games online

Books


In the purchase journey for this product category, global shoppers looking at books, music, movies and video games are the most likely of all categories to research and purchase via an online channel, 68% and 60% respectively.

For books, music, movies and video games, more than two-thirds (68%) of global shoppers do their research online, while only 16% prefer to research in store. Of shoppers who prefer researching online, the majority (44%) like researching by PC, 14% by mobile/smartphone and 9% by tablet.

When it comes to purchasing books, music, movies and video games purchases, 60% of global shoppers prefer to purchase online, while 28% prefer to purchase in store. Of those who like to purchase online, 41% prefer doing it with a PC, 11% like using a mobile/smartphone and 8% like using a tablet.

Shoppers in the books, music, movies and games category are the second most likely group of shoppers to have made purchases online to some extent in the last 12 months (73%), after clothing and footwear shoppers (77%). Over a third of shoppers said they purchased most or all of their purchases online in the last 12 months.

The countries in which book, music, movies and video game shoppers most prefer to do their research in store are Thailand (26%), Belgium (23%) and Vietnam (23%). By contrast, just 7% of shoppers in China and 9% of shoppers in Brazil prefer to do their research in this category in store.

The majority preference across all countries is to purchase this category online, with shoppers most likely to do this in China (77%), Brazil (76%), and Germany (69%). Shoppers in Brazil and Germany are most likely to complete these purchases using a PC, whereas Chinese shoppers utilize both mobile/smartphone and PC.

For the shoppers who like to purchase in store, Belgium (38%) and Australia (35%) score highest in this regard.

 

Clothing and footwear


For clothing and footwear, 52% of global shoppers prefer to research purchases online, while 34% prefer to research in store. Of those who research online, 31% prefer to research using a PC and 12% prefer to use a mobile/smartphone.

40% of global shoppers prefer to purchase clothing and footwear online, while 51% prefer in store. Of those who like to purchase online, 24% prefer to buy via PC, and 9% by smartphone.

Of all the product categories, clothing and footwear is the category most likely to have been purchased in the last 12 months (77%), with 28% of global shoppers purchasing most or all of their clothing and footwear online in the last 12 months.

Shoppers in Poland lead the way in preferring to research purchases in clothing and footwear online using a PC (48%). By contrast, Thailand has the smallest percentage of shoppers, only 19% research online using a PC.

15% of shoppers in Sweden and 14% of shoppers in the US and Australia indicated they do not research this category at all compared to only 2% for shoppers in Russia and Turkey.

With regards to purchasing preferences, shoppers in China (72%), Indonesia (54%) an Thailand (50%) lead the way for preference to purchase clothing and footwear via online channels. Italy is the most likely out of the European countries to prefer to purchase clothing and footwear online (48%).

28% of global shoppers purchased all or most of their clothing and footwear online in the last 12 month
69% ofr Brazilian shoppers prefer to buy online

Consumer electronics and computers


For consumer electronics and computers, 62% of global shoppers prefer researching these purchases online, while 28% prefer to do their research in store. Of those researching, 45% like researching by PC] 10% by mobile/smartphone and 7% by tablet.

When it comes to purchasing, a high proportion of shoppers indicate they like to shop across both channels for this product category, as 51% prefer to buy in store with 43% preferring to purchase online Of those who purchase online, 31% prefer using a PC, 6% a mobile/smartphone and 4% a tablet.

Over a quarter of global shoppers said they made most or all of their consumer electronic or computer purchases in the last 12 months.

Of the 11 product categories surveyed, consumer electronics and computer products are the second most likely product category where shoppers prefer researching online (62%) – after books, music, movies and video games (68%).

The largest percentage of shoppers who prefer to research purchases online are in Brazil (79%) and UK (74%).

Shoppers in Thailand, China and the Middle East lead the way in preferring to research online via mobile/smartphone – 23% of shoppers in Thailand and 19% of shoppers in China and the Middle East. This drops to 2% of shoppers in Belgium and 3% for shoppers in Poland and Denmark.

8% of US shoppers do not research this category at all – the largest number of any country.

Shoppers in Australia (68%), Belgium (64%) and Philippines (63%) show the highest preference for purchasing this category in store.

Shoppers in Brazil (69%), Germany (61%) and UK/Italy (56%) say they prefer to buy online.

 

Do-it-yourself and home improvement


For do-it-yourself/home improvement, 43% of global shoppers prefer to research purchases their online, while 33% prefer to so in store. Of those who prefer to research online, 27% like researching by PC, and 8% by mobile/smartphone.

When it comes to do-it-yourself/home improvement purchases, just 30% of global shoppers like to purchase online with over half (52%) preferring to buy in store. Of those who prefer to purchase online, 18% like to do it by PC, 6% by mobile/smartphone and 5% by tablet.

Across all product categories, shoppers were least likely to have purchased do-it-yourself/home improvement items in the last 12 months, this was tied with purchases of jewellery/watch items.

A quarter of global shoppers indicate they have made ‘some’ do-it-yourself/home improvement purchases online in the last 12 months. Only 16% of shoppers say they complete most or all of their do-it-yourself/home improvement purchases online.

52% of Swiss shoppers researching do-it-yourself/home improvement items prefer to do their research in store – by far the largest percentage for any country.

Over a third of shoppers in Italy (36%), Poland (36%), Hungary (36%) and the UK (35%) prefer to do their research for this category online via PC.

In both China and Thailand 18% of shoppers researching do-it-yourself/home improvement items prefer to do this online via mobile/smartphone – the largest percentage whilst only 3% of shoppers in Russia, France and Belgium used their mobile/smartphones.

Shoppers in Belgium (71%), Canada (64%) and Switzerland (65%) are most likely to purchase do-it-yourself/home improvement items in store. China (34%) had the lowest percentage of shoppers purchasing this category in store.

Shoppers in China (52%), Poland (43%) and Italy (42%) are most likely to shop for Do-it-yourself/Home Improvement online with 20% of shoppers in China purchasing this category across both mobile/smartphone and PC. In Poland, the majority of online purchases are made via PC (33%).

43% of global shoppers prefer to research do-it-yourself/home improvement purchases online
18% of Chinese shoppers prefer to purchase furniture and homeware via mobile/smartphone - the largest percentage

Furniture and homeware


For furniture and homeware, 45% of global shoppers prefer researching purchases online, while 39% prefer to do their research in store. Of those that research online, 29% prefer doing it by PC, 8% by mobile/smartphone and 7% by tablet.

When purchasing furniture and homeware, 59% of global shoppers prefer to purchase in store, while 30% prefer to purchase online. Of those who prefer purchasing online, 18% prefer to use a PC, while 5% choose tablet and 5% mobile/smartphone.

Global shoppers are most likely to say they have made ‘some’ furniture and homeware purchases online during the last 12 months (25%).

Almost half of shoppers in Belgium (49%) and Switzerland (49%) prefer doing their research for furniture and homeware purchases in store, while only 25% of shoppers in the UK prefer to research this way, the largest and smallest percentages respectively.

When it comes to researching online via PC, Brazilian shoppers lead the way with 41% using a PC. By contrast, shoppers in Thailand and the Middle East are the least likely to use a PC (just 15% and 16% respectively).

With regards to purchasing, shoppers in Canada, Belgium, Australia, South Africa and the US overwhelmingly preferred to purchase furniture and homeware in store with 70% choosing this option.

China (53%), Brazil (41%), Chile (41%) and UK (41%) shoppers were most likely to purchase furniture and homeware products online, with shoppers in Brazil mostly purchasing via PC (31%). When it comes to purchasing via mobile, shoppers in China were most likely out of all countries to do so (18%).

Grocery


Grocery is the product category with the highest percentage of shoppers both preferring to research (53%) and purchase (70%) in store.

53% of shoppers globally prefer to do their research for grocery purchases in store, while 30% of shoppers prefer to research online. Of those who choose to research online, 16% prefer to do so via PC, 8% by mobile/smartphone and 5% by tablet.

70% of shoppers globally still prefer to purchase grocery in a store, the highest of all product categories, with a further 23% purchasing online. Of those who like to purchase online, 12% prefer to do it using a PC, 6% using a mobile/smartphone and 4% using a tablet.

33% of global shoppers said they made ‘some’ grocery purchases online in the last 12 months.

While shoppers in Switzerland (71%) and Germany (70%) prefer to do their research for grocery products in store, only 24% of Chinese shoppers prefer researching in store – the most and least respectively among the countries.

24% of shoppers in Sweden and 21% of shoppers in the US do not research this product category.

When it comes to purchasing grocery, shoppers in Russia (82%), Canada (81%) and Switzerland (81%) are the most likely to prefer to purchase grocery in store. Shoppers in China are least likely (28%).

China is by far the country where shoppers prefer to purchase grocery online, with an overwhelming 65% preferring to buy grocery online. However a further five countries surveyed have almost one third or more of their shoppers preferring to buy on line; Middle East, Singapore, Thailand, UK and Vietnam.

In comparison the four countries with the lowest proportion of shoppers preferring to buy this category online, with just over 10% of shoppers choosing this preference were shoppers in Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and the US.

A full 70% of global shoppers still prefer to make their grocery purchases in store
37% of global shoppers prefer to purchase health and beauty (cosmetics) online

Health and beauty


46% of global shoppers prefer to research for health and beauty products online; 33% prefer to research in store. Of those who prefer to research online, 27% like to research using a PC, 11% using a mobile/smartphone and 7% using a tablet.

When it comes to making health and beauty purchases, 47% of global shoppers prefer to purchase in store and 37% prefer to purchase online. Of those who prefer to purchase online, 22% like to shop using a PC, 9% using a mobile/smartphone and 6% using a tablet.

30% of global shoppers are most likely to say they made ‘some’ health and beauty purchases online in the last 12 months.

Shoppers in Germany (64%) and Switzerland (58%) prefer to research health and beauty products in store, compared to 19% of shoppers in Japan and 21% of shoppers in China – the highest and lowest percentages respectively.

In six countries – Australia, Denmark, Canada, Sweden, the UK and the US – around one-quarter of shoppers do not research this category at all.

When it comes to purchasing Health and Beauty products, Germany and Switzerland shoppers (69%) are most likely to prefer to purchase in store. China (62%), Vietnam (54%) and Thailand (52%) shopper are most likely to purchase via an online channel. Switzerland, Canada and Germany are the countries where shoppers are least likely to purchase health and beauty online.

Shoppers in China and Thailand are most likely to use mobile as their preferred method to shop, whereas shoppers in Vietnam are more likely to shop via PC.

Household appliances


53% of global shoppers favor researching online for their household appliance purchases, while 32% prefer doing their research in store. Of those who prefer to research online, 38% like to research via PC, and 7% each by tablet and mobile/smartphone.

When it comes to buying household appliances, 56% of global shoppers prefer to purchase in store, while 33% prefer online. Of those who purchase online, 23% prefer using a PC, while 5% prefer using a mobile/smart phone and 4% tablet.

Just under half of global shoppers have purchased household appliances to some extent in the last 12 months.

Thailand (48%), Philippines (46%) and Middle East (43%) are the countries in which shoppers most prefer to research for household appliances in store.

The US is the country in which the largest percentage of shoppers (14%) do not do any research in this category before buying.

When it comes to purchasing household appliances online, Brazil (59%), UK (52%), Poland and Germany (47%) are the countries where shoppers are most likely to purchase via an online channel; the majority of these shoppers preferring to purchase via PC. Australia, Canada and the US are the countries where shoppers are least likely (19%) to buy online.

For those countries where shoppers prefer to buy in store, Australia (70%), Canada (69%) and US (68%) score highest in this regard. UK scores lowest, with just 37% of shoppers preferring to buy in store.

 

56% of global shoppers prefer to purchase household appliace in store
43% of global shoppers prefer to do their jewellery/watch research online

Jewellery and watches


43% of global shoppers prefer to research for Jewellery/Watches online, while 33% prefer to do research in store. Of those who research online, 25% like to research via PC, 6% by tablet and 9% by mobile/smartphone.

When it comes to making Jewellery/Watch purchases, the majority of global shoppers prefer to make purchases in store (49%) while 32% prefer to purchase online. Of those who purchase online, 19% prefer to do purchase via PC and 7% via mobile/smartphone.

Just under a fifth of shoppers globally made most or all of their purchases online in the last 12 months (19%).

Shoppers in Switzerland (45%) and Belgium (44%) – the largest percentages – prefer to do their research for Jewellery/Watches in store.

Almost a third of Japanese shoppers (32%) do not research Jewellery/Watches at all.

Regarding preferences to purchase Jewellery/Watches, shoppers in Belgium (62%), Switzerland (59%) and South Africa (58%) score highest for preference to purchase in store.

Shoppers in Vietnam (50%), Thailand (48%) and Middle East (46%) are most likely to prefer to purchase this category online. While Vietnamese shoppers prefer to buy via PC, shoppers in Thailand are more likely to purchase via mobile. In the Middle East both PC and mobile are popular.

Australia (21%), Belgium (21%) and Switzerland (24%) are the countries least likely to prefer to purchase jewellery and watches online.

 

Sports equipment and outdoor


47% of global shoppers prefer researching sports equipment/outdoor purchases online and 28% prefer researching in store. Of those who research online, 29% research via PC, 10% via mobile/smartphone and 7% via tablet.

When it comes to purchasing sports equipment/outdoor, both online and in store channels are popular with shoppers; 36% of global shoppers prefer to buy online and 44% prefer in store. Of those who prefer to purchase online, 22% like to purchase via PC, and 8% by mobile/smartphone. Just 5% say they prefer to purchase by tablet.

Around half of shoppers had made at least some purchases in this category online in the last 12 months, with 19% saying they made most or all of their sports equipment/outdoor purchases online.

While researching in store was the favored method for Switzerland shoppers (43%), only 16% of UK shoppers say they prefer to research sports equipment/outdoor purchases in store, the highest and lowest respectively among the countries.

Almost a third of shoppers in Russia (31%), Denmark (31%) and Australia (30%) don’t do any research in this category before purchasing.

Regarding preference to purchase, shoppers in Switzerland (57%), Belgium (57%) and Canada (55%) are the most likely to purchase in store, whereas Brazil, (33%), UK (31%) and China (23%) are least likely.

When purchasing, shoppers in China (65%), Vietnam (49%) and Brazil (48%) are most likely to purchase sports equipment/outdoor purchases online, while Australia and Canada are least likely, with 23%.

With regards to channel preferences, China is the country where shoppers most prefer to purchases this category via mobile/smartphone. However Brazil (36%), Poland (35%) and Germany (30%) have the highest percentage of shoppers in this category shopping via PC.

51% of global shoppers made at least some sports equipment/outdoor purchases online in the last 12 months
71% of chinese shoppers prefer buying toys online, most frequently via mobile

Toys


45% of global shoppers prefer to research their toy purchases online, while 26% prefer to research in store. Of those who prefer to research online, 28% prefer to use a PC, 10% a mobile/smartphone and 6% like to use a tablet.

When it comes to purchasing toys, both online and in store channels are almost equal in popularity for this category; 39% of global shoppers like to make their toy purchases online, while 37% prefer to purchase in store. Of those who like to purchase online, 24% prefer to use a PC, 8% a mobile/smartphone and 6% a tablet.

20% of global shoppers have made most or all toy purchases online in the last 12 months.

Shoppers in the Philippines are the ones that most prefer doing their research for toys in store – 43% – while just 11% of Chinese shoppers and 12% of UK shoppers – the smallest percentages – preferred researching in store.

31% of Chinese shoppers prefer researching toys online via mobile/smartphone – the largest percentage – while Belgium and Denmark have the smallest percentages (3% and 4% respectively) researching this category using a mobile/smartphone.

36% of shoppers in Denmark, US and Sweden do not research this category at all.

Regarding preferences when purchasing, around half of shoppers in the Philippines (52%), Belgium (50%) and Switzerland (49%) prefer to purchase toys in store. China (13%) and UK (22%) are the countries that are least likely to do so.

Shoppers in China (71%), Poland (52%) and Italy and Vietnam (50%) are most likely to shop for Toys online. In China, mobile/smartphone is the channel most frequently used, whereas for Poland, Italy and Vietnam, these purchases are more likely to be made via PC.

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