Up to 90% of store purchases are now influenced by online research, according to a new report.

Up to 90% of store purchases are now influenced by online research, according to a new report.

Customers are using the web to research products they’re interested in and pinpoint what they want, before visiting a store to try out the product before purchasing.

The majority of sales – around 90% - are still done in-store, but the way retailers and customers are using online resources to influence that is changing.

Around 60% of food purchases are researched online, and this figure rises to between 80% and 90% for other categories according to the report by data analysis company Experian.

The report on multichannel retailing says this behaviour cuts right across demographics, and is not restricted to young age groups.

It also found high street retailers now account for 59% of online purchases, up from 49% in 2008. Pure play etailers, by comparison, now account for 41% of online purchases, down from 51% in 2008.

Experian says the research illustrates how the different channels are converging. In-store, 10% of customers use their mobile to check the prices of goods elsewhere before buying.

Elsewhere on the web, 40% of customers use price comparison sites before purchasing electrical or white goods, 20% are seeking reviews of products, and 12% are using voucher code sites and collaborative buying sites like Groupon.

Experian’s managing director of marketing services Mark Zablan said: “Although the headline story of the past decade may seem to have been the rise of online retail and simultaneous decline of the high street, this is too simplistic. People still want to shop in stores, but that the way they want to shop is changing. They still like the experience of visiting the store, but will tend to walk through its doors better educated about what they might find there, having already used websites to research the products and services on offer.”