MADRID: Brands need to have an omnichannel strategy in place in Spain as shoppers there flit between online and offline, showrooming and webrooming, a new study has shown.

For its eCommerce Observatory report, GfK, the market research business, surveyed 4,198 internet users and analysed more than 100 products and services across eight categories groups using data from a retail panel covering more than 8,000 stores.

The survey revealed that more than one quarter of the population (26.2%) had purchased a product online in the last six months and half of these had visited a physical store beforehand.

In the case of offline buyers, 60% had gone online to seek information first, with 22% visiting a manufacturer's website.

Further, 84% had used their smartphones to research products – and 13% had done so while in store – but few went on to buy this way: just 10% of respondents had completed a purchase on a mobile device

This multiple use of different channels made an omnichannel strategy "essential" for brands, the report said.

It also highlighted growth opportunities in ecommerce specifically, pointing out the large gap between the 72% of Spaniards who had been online in the previous three months and the 26% who had bought online in the preceding six months.

Travel, hospitality and leisure was the most-shopped category online, with 10% of online Spaniards having recently done so. Hotel reservations (82%), vehicle rental (80%) and ticket purchase (74%) were the most popular activities here.

Among the other sectors considered, 6% had bought fashion and home items online and the same proportion movies, music and books.

The report also expressed some surprise that consumer electronics sales continued to take place largely offline (94%), an exception being camcorders where 19% of purchases were online.

Most online shopping in Spain continues to take place on desktop or laptop – 89% of cases – while credit card (46%) and PayPal (28%) were the most frequently used payment methods.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff