Fourth Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study

November 2015

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November 2015

“This year’s results show us how important the in-store experience can be in influencing shopper behavior. Even though we can’t take our eyes off the enormous digital opportunities ahead, we must also focus on the role that associates, in-store signage and experiential factors play in driving major purchases.”

                   Toni White, Synchrony Financial, Chief Marketing Officer


This white paper will share the results of Synchrony Financial’s Fourth Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study. This annual study looks at the consumers’ shopping journey for major purchases of $500 or more.

Collecting four years of data has allowed Synchrony to measure behavioral and attitudinal trends across 14 differentproduct categories, which include…


Consumers surveyed in this May 2015 online survey spent at least $500 on a single transaction in one of the 14 major purchase categories in the preceding six months.

Study conducted by Rothstein Tauber, Inc. on behalf of Synchrony Financial. 

Synchrony Bank Major Purchase Cardholders: used a Synchrony Bank credit card to make their most recent major purchase over $500 

Random Major Purchase Shoppers: Did not use a Synchrony credit card to make their recent major purchase over $500 

Major Purchase Shoppers: all respondents combined

Evolution of the Path to a Major Purchase

The following graphic illustrates how consumers behave and engage with various tools throughout the major purchase journey.

The major purchase journey is getting shorter, digital behavior has stabilized
and the in-store experience matters more than ever.

Key Insights

Major purchase shoppers becoming more decisive

  • 68 days of research (down from 80 days in 2014)
  • Research starts online and ends in-store.
  • Consumers research four unqiue retailers

In-store vs. Online

  • 64% of shoppers who conducted both online and in-store research at some point in their journey said in-store research had a greater influence on their purchase decision.

Role of Digital

  • 50% used a mobile device at some point during the purchase process
  • 13% make their major purchase online (flat to last year)

Category Differences*

  • Electronics, Music and Fitness Equipment are more likely to be purchased online
  • Fine Jewelry shoppers took twice as long to research their purchase this year (93 days, up from 45 days in 2014)

*Category specific reports and insights available upon request

Top Reasons for Purchasing In-store

  • Take home product the same day
  • See or feel the product in-person
  • Like shopping at the retailer
  • Interact with store associates and ask questions

Importance of In-store Experience

  • 73% of major purchase shoppers conducted in-store research 
  • 41% of major purchase buyers say they made 3+ trips to the retailer before buying 
  • 64% of shoppers who conducted both online and in-store research at some point in their journey said in-store research had a greater influence on their purchase decision. 
  • 68% of Synchrony Bank Cardholders researched their financing options in-store with the associate and 81% applied in-store with the associate

Value of Financing

75% of Synchrony Bank Cardholders always seek promotional financing options when making a major purchase

89% of Synchrony Bank Cardholders feel promotional financing makes their large purchases more affordable

53% of random major purchase shoppers say they would consider financing if it meant they could bring the product home the same day

Synchrony Bank Cardholders reported spending $547 more (35% higher) on average than random shoppers.

Financing Drives Incremental Sales

Without the availability of financing retailers could lose sales and market share. Survey results show that 45% of Synchrony Bank Cardholders said they wouldn’t have made the purchase or would have gone to another retailer if financing was not available.

Key Trends and Recommendations  

Shoppers are taking less time to shop for major purchases.

Recommendation: Consider grabbing the opportunity to drive more traffic to your store by implementing targeted online advertising and real-time responsive marketing efforts. Consider messaging around “the time is now” or communicate price matching opportunities to help close the sale.

Digital behavior has stabilized in many big ticket categories.
Recommendation: Develop an omni-channel strategy that would allow shoppers to experience the product in-store but then make it easy for them to order and buy online. Advertise financing options on your website and use in-store mobile behavior to your advantage by offering quick item look-up options on tablets throughout the store.

The in-store experience matters more than ever.
Recommendation: Ensure you are hiring the best talent and that employees are trained on the latest product offerings and promotions. Having experts who are knowledgeable is critical to a good experience. Also consider adding ane xperiential element in-store that will help you differentiate your business from the competition down the street.

At Synchrony Financial, we engage with our customers through advanced analytics and insights, bringing a deeper evel of understanding and relevance to retailers.

For additional insights from Synchrony Financial, click here.

Author: Ronda Slaven—Market Research & Competitive Intelligence Leader
Contributors: Toni White—Chief Marketing Officer

©2015 Synchrony Financial. All rights reserved. No reuse without express written consent from Synchrony Financial.

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