One Irish Retailer Wins Hands Down for Parents

insights on retail
New insights* from parents on the topic of shopping both instore and online have just been released that shows for parents online shopping is growing for certain categories but when it comes to regular household shopping and bigger ticket items, in-store is still their preference. We asked parents to share their views on their shopping for themselves and their kids, on retailers, instore vs online shopping, and what matters to them as they shop for their families.

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In-Store, Online and Kids' Retail

* Survey run on 1-15 February 2022 with 465 responses

Parents gave their thoughts and feedback on the shopping online as well as their experience of shopping in store, who they think is doing a good job for families, what preference they have for in-store vs online for buying different products, and what factors influence their decision to shop in-store vs online.

When it comes to shopping and parents, retailers should look to Dunnes Stores for inspiration as Dunnes came tops for parents across in-store, online and for kids’ products.

Another finding to come out of the research is that, despite Brexit, Amazon is still in the top 10 for online shopping for parents.

“A good online platform and free returns make a big difference while a good selection for all family members will bring me to a certain shop.”

Parents and In-Store Shopping

When asked which retail stores they most enjoy shopping in-store in, Dunnes topped the list. Supermarkets were clearly favourites of parents making up four out of the top ten list.

For clothes retailers, aside from Dunnes, Penneys, M&S, Next and H&M were favoured with discount brand retailer also making the top ten list:

Top Retailers Rated by Parents for In-Store Shopping:

  1. Dunnes
  2. Tesco
  3. Aldi
  4. Lidl
  5. Penneys
  6. SuperValu
  7. M&S
  8. Next
  9. H&M
  10. TK Maxx

For retailers looking to improve the in-store experience for parents, the number one thing parents said they would like was better trolleys for shopping – either ones to accommodate more than one child or mini trolleys for the kids to use. Not surprisingly less sweets at tills was also requested, while many parents asked for creches or play areas to come back along with wider aisles and more staff to help.

“I do believe online shopping was a great help during the pandemic when we couldn’t get out and I would still shop online occasionally for convenience sake but I do prefer to see in person what I’m buying.”

Parents and Online Shopping

Irish websites

When asked which retail stores do a good job with their online shopping, again Dunnes topped the list with Tesco coming in second.

Clothes retailers made up the bulk of the top 10 list, including Next, M&S, H&M. Parents still say they use Amazon for online shopping.

Top Retailers Rated by Parents for Online Shopping:

  1. Dunnes
  2. Tesco
  3. Next
  4. M&S
  5. H&M
  6. Amazon
  7. Littlewoods
  8. Asos
  9. Zara
  10. River Island

For retailers looking to improve the online experience for parents, the number one thing that they requested was cheaper or free delivery. As well as more discounts or offers, more stock was also cited – many parents are frustrated by browsing item listings to then discover the item is not available.

Other factors that parents said would help online were easier returns, better websites e.g. easier to navigate and better ranges including more choice and more available sizes.

“In general most Irish retailers provide a good online service and I find this much more convenient than shopping in-store.”

in-store vs online retail

Parents and Retail

Over 500 parents answered questions, actively shared their opinions and gave detailed commentary on their favourite retailers, their shopping habits, what factors would make them choose in-store over online shopping and vice versa, and how their retail experiences could be improved. 

Download our free mini Insights report about Parents and In-Store vs Online Retail.

Parents and Buying Kids' Products

Dunnes came tops again when parents were asked which retailers do a good job for kids products. Not surprisingly, Smyths hopped into the top 10 list along with clothes and some supermarkets – parents like the middle aisle specials.

When it comes to improving the experience of buying kids products, better sizing for kids items was the most important factor with just over one quarter (26%) of parents mentioning that, while 18% said they would love better foot measuring options/services for kids shoes.

Easy returns, better ranges and more pictures when it comes to online shopping were also mentioned by parents.

Top Retailers Rated by Parents for Kids Products:

  1. Dunnes
  2. Aldi
  3. Tesco
  4. M&S
  5. Next
  6. Penneys
  7. Smyths
  8. SuperValu
  9. Lidl
  10.  H&M

“I have teens now but I do buy for my nieces and nephews. I have ordered from Smyths and Littlewoods online and both were brilliant. I like too that I can do a click and collect in Smyths and still pay in-store.

For clothing I think Next, M&S and TK Maxx do a good job. I also think Dunnes have gotten better in their offerings for kids’ clothing and gifts in the last year.”

Parents' Preferences for In-Store vs Online

insights on grocery shopping

Parents definitely have a marked preference for buying some products in-store vs some that they prefer to buy online.

  • Groceries, Footwear, Alcohol and Furniture were the top categories that parents prefer to buy In-store.
  • Books, Sportswear, Technology and Gifts were the top categories that parents prefer to buy online.
  • When it comes to Click & Collect the most popular categories for this service were Homewares, Adult Clothing, Garden items and Back to school items.

“I think that Click and Collect is the middle ground and I prefer to get the item I want online to a store and not pay postage.”

“For some tech items there is a better range online. Same goes for gifts – plus it’s so much more convenient – especially around Christmas time.”

Parents and Choice of In-Store vs Online

Parents also gave their feedback on the factors that influence their decision to shop in-store vs online.

It turns out 34% of parents said they prefer in-store to be able to see or feel or try items on. Time (16%) and price (14%) were the next most important factors while delivery cost (9%) and availability of products (6%) came next. Interestingly, COVID was only mentioned by 2% of parents as a factor of going online vs in-store now.

The top factors parents mentioned as influences were:

  1. I like to see or feel or try on items
  2. Time
  3. Price
  4. Delivery cost
  5. Availability
  6. Returns
  7. Convenience
  8. Like to browse/experience
  9. COVID
  10. Location

“Time restraints. Being able to shop at night when kids are in bed or on a break in work, not having to drive and park somewhere. Shopping in-store with children is stressful.”

Planning & Budgeting

“Online can be tricky for kids clothing and I would only order trainers online for kids as I would usually be buying the same brand as a replacement for worn out trainers. Just make it easy to return goods if they are not the right fit.

In-store, make it quick to get in and out and have a good range of sizes in stock.”

What does this mean for Retailers?

Communicating value and quality to parents is going to be key to getting them to spend and
businesses need to know what the parent market wants and how to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Make it easy for parents to transact with kids in tow, advance appointment booking, wishlists for shopping, click & collect are all things that this segment like.

Online will continue to be a strong channel, Irish companies need to ensure their online presence is the best it can be and that their stock levels are up to date.

In some ways, parents are no different to other shopper segments, they want value and quality, but they also need to trust the retailers and the products they sell even more as they are not just buying for themselves but for their family. (God forbid you buy the wrong toy or shoes for your child!).

Understanding more about what parents need and want, and ultimately helping them make good shopping decisions for their family, is key to retail success with this highly influential segment.

“I feel retailers need to make their presence known online, cut down delivery costs and listen to the needs of their customers.”

It’s really interesting to see this feedback from parents and what they consider important when it comes to shopping for the family. There’s an opportunity for retailers to really help this segment by understanding more about what parents need and want in these times, to tap into what will activate them to bring them in-store or onto their website, and what will keep them coming back for more.

grow your business with consumer insights

Would you like business-transforming insights for your brand? Use our tailored panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help your decision making and activate customers.  Contact us now to find how we can help.

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