‘Showrooming’ impacts Christmas shopping as 41% of UK shoppers use mobiles to find best deals while in-store

  • Research from EE reveals almost 22 million shoppers regularly ‘showroom’ by using their mobile devices to check for better prices while in-store, a major concern for retailers at Christmas
  • London and Newcastle are British cities with the most showroomers at 47 per cent, while the practice is most common among those aged 18-34
  • Price-matching, loyalty schemes and allowing customers to buy online while in-store are key ways retailers can turn showrooming into an advantage
  • EE aims to help retailers turn showrooming trend to their advantage this Christmas with 4G Public WiFi In A Box, a new product that enables smaller businesses to provide plug and play, regulatory compliant public WiFi service in stores

The Christmas season is one of the heaviest spending periods of the year, but new data from EE suggests the practice of ‘showrooming’ could have a big impact on Christmas shopping behaviour this year. 41 per cent of Brits – equivalent to almost 22 million shoppers – regularly ‘showroom’ by using their mobile devices to check for better prices while in-store.

The findings also indicate shoppers appreciate the broader selection of products found online, as 74 per cent of shoppers prefer to browse online rather than in retailers’ physical shops. Over three quarters (79 per cent) of shoppers research the best deals online before buying anything, and more than a third (36 per cent) prefer to shop online wherever possible.

Across the country some areas see more showrooming than others, with London and Newcastle topping the list with 47 per cent of shoppers admitting to showrooming. Norwich and Belfast have the fewest showroomers, at 33 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

The full regional breakdown is as follows:


Proportion who showroom

























The trend is most popular with younger people – 58 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds say they showroom while out shopping. The most common app people use to showroom is Amazon, with more than three quarters (82 per cent) of shoppers saying they use the app to look up better prices while they’re in stores. The second most popular app for showrooming is eBay (54 per cent), followed by Tesco (28 per cent).

However, the physical shop is still important to British shoppers. 43 per cent like shopping in-store more than online because it’s quicker than waiting for an item to be delivered. Additionally, the research reveals one way in which retailers can cope with the growing threat of showrooming, as over half (56 per cent) of Brits say they would shop in-store more frequently if retailers offered price-matching deals. Additionally, many businesses are now turning their retail space into showrooms where customers can experience their products in person before purchasing via their app or website to be delivered or collected later.

To help retailers turn the increasing trend for showrooming to their advantage, particularly at the crucial Christmas trading period, EE has added to its line of Public WiFi products with 4G Public WiFi In A Box,  providing plug-and-play, regulatory compliant 4G WiFi for businesses and their customers. 4G Public WiFi is designed for smaller shops and premises and builds on EE’s Public WiFi products for corporates that provide connectivity in large retailers and offices.

Jeremy Spencer, Head of Corporate Products at EE, said: “The practice of showrooming isn’t going away. It’s understandable that the threat of showrooming preys on retailers’ minds, particularly during such an important shopping season as Christmas. However, retailers actually have a significant opportunity to both engage and retain showrooming customers. Encouraging customers to look up additional information on products in-store using free Wi-Fi, offering a mobile app with digital loyalty schemes and, as our research indicates, offering to match prices found online can not only prevent showrooming in the short term, but can help keep customers coming back. Additionally, providing tablets for customers to use in-store allows people to browse online product ranges, helping to keep purchases in-store.”


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Notes to Editors

“Almost 22 million showrooming” statistic (21,506,632 people) = total percentage of showroomers (41%) divided by total number of shoppers (52 million). Number of shoppers is based on a UK adult population (16 years old and over) of 52,455,200 according to ONS Overview of UK Population, November 2015:

Research statistics from online poll of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll

For more information please contact the EE B2B press team at or contact:

Richard Bell,, 020 7544 3758

Anastasia Alden,, 020 3617 6528


About EE

EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 14,000 employees and 553 retail stores, and serves more than 31 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012 and is the first European operator to surpass the 10million 4G customer landmark. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 92% of the UK population, with unique double speed 4G reaching 75%. EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers around 80% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.

In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition, including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®; Best Network at the 2014 and 2015 Mobile News Awards; Best Network for Business and Best Consumer Network at the 2014 & 2015 Mobile Industry Awards; Best Network at the 2014 & 2015 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards, and Best Network at the What Mobile Awards 2014; Fastest Network at the 2014 uSwitch Mobile Awards; Best Mobile Network at the 2014 Recombu Awards, and Winners of Best Connected Gadget at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards 2015.