Global: Do consumers prefer to shop clothes and books in-person?
October 20th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

Global: Do consumers prefer to shop clothes and books in-person?

Brands continue to debate whether they should focus on online or in-person customer experience, so in an attempt to help brands, we asked consumers across 18 countries which products or services they prefer to shop for at a brick-and-mortar shop.

Polling data from the recent YouGov survey shows that more than half the global audience prefers to buy their groceries (60%), clothes (52%) and vehicles (52%) from physical establishments. On the other end of the spectrum, fewer than two in ten consumers prefer to purchase insurance (18%), travel services (14%) and video games (10%) from a store. While a higher proportion of respondents prefer to buy books from physical establishments, it is still less than a quarter (23%).


Over half of consumers in most of the surveyed markets say they prefer to shop for clothes in-person, outpacing the global audience. Consumers in Mexico (62%), Hong Kong (61%), Canada (61%) and Australia (60%) register the highest share of shoppers who prefer to see what they’re purchasing in-person.

Americans are almost evenly split in their preferences - only half of them say they prefer purchasing clothes from a physical store (51%). Britons are slightly more likely to favour in-person shopping, edging above the 50% mark (56%).

While a few markets from the APAC region outpace the global audience, some of these markets are the least likely of all to say they prefer shopping for clothes in-store – China (33%) and Indonesia (44%). This suggests that consumers in these countries are more comfortable shopping online.


Urban consumers in developing countries like India (36%) and Mexico (31%) are the most likely of all surveyed markets to say they prefer buying books in-store. However, consumers in a few developed countries are not far behind – Spain (30%), France, Canada and Australia (27% each).

Britons are on par with the global average - 23% of them say they would prefer to buy books in person. Consumers in some European countries are less likely to say they buy books from a physical store – Poland (16%), Denmark (17%), Germany (18%).

Singapore registers the lowest share of consumers of all the markets surveyed (15%), followed by Indonesia in the APAC region (18%). The rest of the markets in this region are more likely than the global average to go to a bookstore.

A deeper dive into data shows that younger consumers are more likely to go to a bookstore – 29% of 18-24-year-olds versus 24% of 55+ – while older consumers are more likely to shop for clothes in person – 49% of 18-24-year-olds versus 59% of 55+.

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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 514 and 2004 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in July 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.