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Over half of Australian shoppers prefer in-store ‘retail therapy’ compared to online

Some 53 percent of Australians prefer in-store ‘retail therapy’, as opposed to shopping online, according to a recent report, highlighting a wave of digital shopping fatigue in the nation, despite an e-commerce boom.

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According to the Vicinity Centres survey, in-store shopping for Australians is more than just the practical and ‘try before you buy’ aspects, with consumers also looking for the mental health benefits from retail therapy.

The research showed that purchasing an item is a key part of a ‘successful’ retail therapy session (49 percent), walking around (43 percent), food and drink activities (40 percent), enjoying in-centre experiences (27 percent) and socialising with peers (25 percent ) were among the other top factors of a day out at the shops.

Those surveyed explained that a day of retail therapy was the ultimate mood-booster, with 50 percent of Australians viewing retail therapy as a positive ‘wellness experience’.

Furthermore, over a third (39 percent) stated that retail therapy is beneficial to their mental health, and others see it as an easy and accessible way to improve their mood (53 percent). It also a way to relax and escape the stress of busy lives, with 20 percent of Australians participating in retail therapy when they feel ‘anxious’ or ‘stressed’.

Wellness experiences are of huge importance, with 72 percent citing that one of the main reasons they engage in wellness-related activities is to improve their mental health.

The report correlates with the latest in-store shopping initiative from Vicinity Centres, a leading retail property group.

Via its Sydney shopping hubs — the QVB, The Galeries, and The Strand Arcade — the group has given ‘retail therapy’ a wellness makeover for the month of April. From May 7, consumers can transform their everyday shopping trip into a new retail wellness experience va three multisensory wellness therapies on offer – fractal therapy, chromotherapy and sound therapy.

Inside the malls, customers experience geometric light shows, immerse themselves in colour therapy installations and experience sound  therapy – transforming their in-store shopping visit into a holistic wellness experience.

“Looking at the research, we know that in-person shopping and wellness are two areas of interest for Australians, which is why we’ve created these immersive and holistic offerings at three of our top locations,” said Corrine Barchanowicz, head of marketing, brand and experience, Vicinity Centres.

“We spotted an opportunity to bridge the gap between both retail and wellness, giving a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘retail therapy’ to offer a truly unique experience.”

The market research was conducted in March by Pureprofile on behalf of Vicinity Centres on a sample of  over 1,000 Australians above the age of 18.