According to NPD World, 45% of consumers have shopped direct during the past 12 months, with 28% of those surveyed buying a product directly from a manufacturer. About a third of direct buyers have been doing so for over five years.
A popular reason cited for direct channel purchases is the convenience of home delivery if, of course, the customer is willing to forego the instant gratification of taking the product home for immediate use. Over 65% of customers who bought both computer and CE products from leading direct resellers Dell and Gateway, said that their initial experience with the purchase of an IT product was a key reason for their future purchase of electronics. Dell and Gateway have a large opportunity in front of them as only 12% of their customers have bought an electronics item from them. The future looks bright for other direct manufacturers as well with 71% of those who had purchased direct in the past saying they would be very likely or extremely likely to make their next computer or electronics purchase via a direct channel.
The biggest danger for brick and mortar retailers is that, outside of the desire to experience the product personally, consumers see no compelling need to buy retail. In fact the major impediment turns out to be consumers’ inertia to new ways of buying as 44% of consumers said the main reason they hadn’t bought direct is that they had not yet had the opportunity to do so.