Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Do You Prefer to Shop In-store or Online?

In this week’s blog post, I’m going to be writing about something a little bit different than in my previous posts.  This week, I will be discussing the findings from one of my focus groups for my industrial investigation to give you a little insight into what I have found out. 

With the two focus groups that I held, I wanted to find out how people want to shop nowadays – is it in-store or online?  I took two different age groups – 16-24 year olds and 25+ – to find out their thoughts and opinions so I could compare to see if there was a difference between the age groups.  For this post, I will be focussing on the 16-24-year-old age group and what they had to say about how they prefer to shop. 

For this focus group, six 16-24 year olds were questioned to find out if they prefer to shop one specific way over another.  All the responses from each participant were fairly similar, and it was easy to see that they all agreed with one another in their answers.

When asked what their preferred method of shopping was, each participant agreed that they preferred shopping online to shopping in-store.  Their main reasons for preferring to shop this way was because it is convenient, there are more options and you can get it delivered straight to you.  I felt that these responses were expected from this age group as they have grown up around technology so it is something that they are used to and have always known.  They also said that what influenced them to shop this way the most was because it doesn’t involve a lot of effort and it is easy to do. 

Then when asked about what would persuade them to shop more the other way, their responses were more mixed but again, they all agree with what of them had to say.  One participant said they would shop this way if there were less queues when shopping, whilst another said if the staff weren’t so pushy towards you.  Other responses included if shops weren’t so far away from where they lived, if there were more sales and offers, if they had longer opening hours and if it wasn’t so expensive to catch the bus or for parking.

Participants were then asked to give their thoughts on the biggest benefit and biggest drawback to shopping in-store.  The main benefits here were that you could physically see and try on the products before you buy them – all participants agreed here saying that sometimes seeing the products is better before buying then.  The drawbacks here were similar to their answers in the previous question – as a whole they didn’t like to have to pay for travel, sales staff are often pushy, there is more variety online and shopping takes out quite a bit of your day.  Again, all the participants seemed to be in agreement with each other on their thoughts about the benefits and drawbacks of shopping in-store.

They were then asked what they felt the biggest benefit and biggest drawback to online shopping was.  The answers were fairly similar here again – online shopping is easier and convenient and there are more choices online to choose from.  The biggest drawbacks here were almost identical as participants didn’t like the fact you can’t see/try the products before you buy them and it takes a while to arrive/return the products.

Overall, the data gathered from this focus group seemed to show that these participants all think in a similar way about the way they shop.  It didn’t come as a surprise to me when they all agreed they prefer to shop online as I expected it from this age group. 

Leave a comment and let me know what your preferred method of shopping is – is it in-store or online and what factors influence you to shop this way?


  1. Interesting post - how do these results compare with the older focus group? I'm in the 25+ group, and I am probably 50/50. I love browsing round the shops and being able to see and touch the items (particularly for makeup) but equally I like being able to access a wider variety of brands/shops online. Returning things is a pain, though!

    1. The 25+ group was very 50/50 as well. They liked the fact there's a lot more variety online but seemed to like to be able to see and touch products before buying them as well