How has the pandemic changed the way consumers make major purchases?

Synchrony’s Major Purchase Journey study showed that 76% of consumers surveyed use their mobile device to make purchases, up from 48% in 2019.

STAMFORD, Conn. — Consumers place more emphasis on the buying process than on the products themselves.

That was one of the key takeaways from Synchrony’s most recent major journey-to-purchase study, which surveyed more than 3,800 consumers who made purchases over $500 from June 24 to July 16, 2021. The study, Synchrony’s eighth, included results from a total of 12 categories. including furniture, bedding and flooring.

“A few things came out of the latest research: Customers want to have confidence in shopping. They want to know they’re making the right choice with the right retailer,” said Tony Foster, the house’s senior vice president for Synchrony, to Furniture Today “The other piece of information we gleaned from the latest research is that consumers want ease in the buying process. They want it to be an easy process where they can get in and out earlier. The more a retailer integrates financing into the overall process, the easier it is for them to get the product they want. »

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing how the pandemic has changed the way consumers shop, Synchrony quantified it, noting that 76% of consumers surveyed use their mobile device to shop (compared to 48% in 2019) while total online purchases increased to 26% from 16% two years ago; and 25% made major purchases online in 2021, up from 16% in 2019.

And as consumers shop more online, they also do more research on all aspects, including financing choices.

“Our research tells us that 48% of borrowers research payment options before they start looking for a purchase,” Foster said. “It’s a very important part of the process that they start early, either online or in-store to bring financing into the discussion. This allows them to buy with confidence and get the product they want.

But while it’s important to recognize the growing potential of online shopping, Foster said the in-store experience remains valuable and a retailer who knows the product and the means by which the consumer can pay for it can help. to retain customers.

“In the home furnishing space, the in-store experience is always critical to the overall experience. Seventy-two percent of our respondents agree that the store is important, and 85% say that the seller and their acquaintances have had an impact on the product they purchased and the value they received,” Foster said. “A knowledgeable salesperson about the product and financing helps the consumer identify what they can afford and how he can fit it into his budget. This seller’s knowledge base greatly benefits the retailer in selling the product.”

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