Media Release

The shopping hack millions of Aussies love, but retailers hate

  • 16% think showrooming is unfair to stores
  • 32% of Aussies prefer to shop in store and hardly buy online
  • finder.com.au’s guide to showrooming

23 January, Sydney, Australia – There are many ways to save on shopping, but new research reveals millions of Aussies are being sneaky in their approach, according to finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.

Almost one in three Aussies (31%) - equivalent to 5.9 million - admit to deliberately checking out a product or trying on a garment in store only to look for it online for a cheaper price; otherwise known as ‘showrooming’.

A further 14% have never had the idea, but wish they’d thought of it.

Angus Kidman, editor-in-chief at finder.com.au, says savvy shoppers are happy to go the extra mile to get the best price.

“Just 10 or 15 years ago Aussies were much more limited with where they could shop from. Unless you wanted to negotiate or walk from store to store to compare costs, prices were pretty final and the pool of retailers was more or less confined to our shores,” says Mr Kidman.

“Today you can be in a store, trying on a jacket and in the very same spot, you can Google it on your phone for a better price.”

“Retailers are well aware that some shoppers are wasting their time. In fact Amazon is working on something it calls Physical Store Online Shopping Control - a mechanism which blocks shoppers from visiting online rivals within a store.”

The survey of 2,017 respondents shows 32% prefer to buy in store and rarely shop online, while 16% think showrooming is wrong as it’s unfair to bricks and mortar stores.

Only 7% of Aussies confidently buy online without checking the product in a store beforehand. Millennials and Generation Z are the most confident in shopping online without visiting a store first.

Baby Boomers hardly shop online (51%), compared to 30% of Gen X and just 16% of Generation Z.

“Walk into any store and you’re bound to see people taking pictures of items with their smartphones or scanning barcodes, just to make sure they find the exact same item online.”

“In this retail climate businesses might want to consider price-match guarantees or putting in competitive deals to keep consumers spending in their store.”

State breakdown of Aussies who showroom
New South Wales34%
Western Australia34%
Victoria31%
Queensland27%
South Australia25%

Showrooming 101

  • Try it out

If it’s clothing, try it on. If it’s an appliance, electronics or makeup, test the products if you can.

  • Take a few pics

Take a few pictures of the item including product information. Details of the product are especially important as there can be many variations and you want to make sure you’re getting the same one. Try and avoid the store’s barcode or style number and look for the brand’s own information.

  • Consider shipping fees

When comparing costs you need to consider all factors, and this includes shipping. What could appear cheaper might go out the window once you add international shipping fees.

  • Be cautious with electronics

Bear in mind that electronics from overseas will run on different voltages. So while you’re scoring a discount, you might need to buy an adapter, or worse, a transformer, which could outweigh your savings.

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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