Two thirds of shoppers admit to using bookshops as showrooms

Kasmira Jefford
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THE NUMBER of people that browse a bookshop before buying online instead has increased to almost two thirds of shoppers, according to research out today, in a growing battle between internet and bricks and mortar retailers.

A report by the Booksellers Association (BA) into consumer spending habits shows that 63 per cent of shoppers admit to so-called showrooming – where customers peruse a store and then check online for cheaper prices.

The survey of 2,045 UK book buyers found that young people felt guiltier than older shoppers about using bookstores as showrooms, but were more inclined to do so.

Around 75.9 per cent 16 to 24 year-olds have browsed and then bought elsewhere compared with 51.7 per cent of people over the age of 55.

But despite increasingly losing out on sales to online rivals, shoppers still value bookshops, with 68 per cent of consumers agreeing they were still the best place to discover new titles and over a third saying they made high streets more appealing.

The BA’s Meryl Halls said stores were having “to fight tooth and nail” to stay commercially viable:

“Showrooming is just one of a variety of pressures bookshops are facing, with other issues such as rising rents, high business rates, lack of town centre parking and the unfair tax arrangements of multinationals also playing a role.”