Study: Consumers Shop Globally, Buy Locally

Just because your customers are researching products on the Web doesn’t mean they’ll buy there. A new study says that while more consumers are using the Internet for research, they still tend to buy at local retailers.

The 2005 U.S. Web2Store Benchmark Survey, released in January by, estimates 83.4 million U.S. consumers made off-line purchases influenced by online information during 2004, up 19 percent from 2003.

There are “robust” opportunities in W2S shopping for retailers who use the Internet to bring shoppers to their stores, it says, especially “smaller local retailers [who] build a stronger online presence and begin to recognize the power of the Internet to drive local traffic.” Successful sites should provide “store price comparisons, information from smaller retailers where people frequently shop, sales alerts, and local stock availability.”

Growth in online purchasing, on the other hand, “faces fairly fixed limits defined by product size, shipping costs and delays, and shoppers’ desires to support [their] local economy,” the survey says.

More information on the survey is available at