When making a big purchase, consumers are doing their homework. They compare prices and look at warranty information. And nearly half of shoppers also consider financing options before making a final buying decision.
According to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study, when consumers plan to spend $500 or more on a purchase, most (81%) start the shopping process online.
The average length of time between deciding to make a purchase and actually making it was 79 days, during which people gathered information and weighed buying options. When visiting a merchant’s website, the majority of folks surveyed looked at these factors:
- Warranty information – 66%
- Pricing – 52%
- Product specifications – 51%
- Financing – 47%
Sales, discounts, availability, and shipping options were also considerations. It pays for retailers and credit issuers to cultivate loyalty through credit card programs, according to the survey; 79% of cardholders said they were likely to use their store-branded credit card again after using it to make their major purchase.
First online, then in store
Although 60% of those surveyed began the buying process online, most end up making those big-ticket purchases in a store. Eighty-eight percent said they eventually make their purchase in a brick-and-mortar retail location.
Consumers visit an average of five retailers before making a major purchase: at least three online stores and two brick-and-mortar shops.
Big purchase psychology
Forty-one percent of those in the study said they are more open to making a big purchase than they were a year ago. But many folks said the biggest motivator was replacing or upgrading an item they already owned rather than buying something they are accustomed to living without.
The survey addressed people who had recently made a major purchase in one of twelve different categories, including appliances, electronics, home furnishings, bedding, home improvement, flooring, jewelry, eyewear, power sports, lawn and garden equipment.
It included answers from 3,220 consumers who had recently made a purchase of $500 or more in one of those categories. One third of the respondents were randomly selected and 2,200 were GE Capital Retail bank accountholders.