The shopper journey is getting shorter. On average, consumers now spend approximately 68 days researching a major purchase decision, according to research from Synchrony Financial. This is a substantial drop from 2014, when shoppers spent approximately 80 days researching potential purchases.
The survey explored consumer attitudes and the path-to-purchase across 13 categories: Appliances; automotive service, tires and products; electronics; eyewear; fine jewelry; flooring; home improvement; furnishings; bedding and mattresses; lawn and garden; musical instruments; sewing; and sports and fitness equipment.
Consumers researching fitness equipment spent the least amount of time, 49 days, before making a purchase decision. On the opposite end of the spectrum, home improvement research averaged 97 days before consumers made a final purchase.
Rothstein Tauber, Inc. conducted the survey for Synchrony, titled: Fourth Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study in May 2015. More than 3,400 Synchrony Bank cardholders and random shoppers who had made a purchase of $500 or more in the past six months, or planned to make such a purchase, participated in the survey.
Digital tools continue to play an important role in the researching process because they empower shoppers to navigate information and narrow their options. However, brick-and-mortar stores are even more central to the customer journey. In fact, 73% of survey respondents said they conduct research during their store visits and 87% make purchases in person.
Moreover, 64% percent of all shoppers said in-store visits had a greater influence on their purchasing decisions than online research. The in-store experience influences consumers primarily because they can see and feel products, interact with store associates and immediately bring items home after they make a purchase.