‘Showrooming’ has retailers fearing full stores and empty carts

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    (Shopping cart image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

    One week from now, millions of Americans will be working off those holiday calories by scurrying from store to store in search of those Black Friday bargains. Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, joins us to talk about a shopping trend that has some brick-and-mortar retailers worried.

    “Showrooming” — when shoppers no intention of buying visit retail stores to take photos or scan bar codes and then buy the item online — is on the rise. Retailers are used to the threat of comparison shopping, but they are finding it more difficult to compete with the Internet. Gallup estimates 40 percent of Americans have done it.

    But both online brick-and-mortar retailers can take some small comfort in a small rise in consumer confidence. 

    Comparison shopping is on focus in the American health care debate, as the Affordable Care Act rollout continues to have a ripple effect on consumer attitudes. Asked in 2006, with George W. Bush in the White House, if it is the government’s role to make sure that all Americans have healthcare coverage, 69 percent of Americans said yes. Today that figure has dropped down into the mid- to low-40s. The majority of Americans now say it is not the government’s role to make sure Americans are insured.

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    Indeed the most pressing health care issue on the minds of Americans is cost. In prior years, specific diseases and health conditions occupied our minds most. Second-most pressing now is access to care, followed then by obesity and cancer, with and government interference coming in fifth.

    Only 20 percent of Americans are generally satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, according to Gallup. Four out of five Americns being less than satisfied with the way things are going sounds pretty terrible, but Newport says at least it’s not the worst it’s been.

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