By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Consumer Electronics purchasing is increasingly being influenced by emerging channels – such as smartphone applications, websites and social media – with bricks and mortar retailers at risk of lost sales if they do not explore these opportunities, according to research carried out by Monash University.

In a presentation of research findings to media in Sydney today, Dr Sean Sands said that multichannel retailing is becoming the norm for consumers in the Generation X and Y age groups (teenagers through to late 30s), whilst it is becoming more accepted, though at lower levels, amongst Baby Boomers.

Key findings from the survey, specific to the consumer electronics industry, included:

-The most popular pre-purchase tool for shoppers is online searching, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they used the internet to research products and retailers.
– More than half of all respondents visited a retailer’s website before going into the store itself.
– 36 per cent of consumers read up on brands at the manufacturer’s own website before making a purchasing decision.
– 79 per cent of all sales in consumer electronics occur in bricks and mortar stores located in either malls or strip malls.

In terms of relative importance, Sands reported that the retailer’s own website and the website of the manufacturer, were two of the four most important resources for a consumer pre-purchase. The most important resource was online searching, while the store itself was placed third.

From this, it can be inferred that suppliers and retailers with more impressive website presences will entice consumers into their bricks and mortar stores at a greater rate than those retailer that are lagging behind.