A new study finds the majority of Canadians engage in “showrooming,” the practice of browsing local brick-and-mortar stores to test or learn more about products before ultimately purchasing them from online retailers.

That’s causing grief for local retailers heading into the competitive holiday shopping season, according the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which conducted the study.

Among the small business owners surveyed by CFIB, 60 per cent said they’ve experienced showrooming, while one-third said it’s having a significant impact on their business.

“You wouldn’t sit down in a restaurant just to read the menu and get some cooking tips from the chef before heading to the grocery store,” Ryan Mallough, director at CFIB and lead author of the study, said in a release Wednesday.

“Showrooming may seem harmless, but (it) can really hurt independent retailers, and undermine the health of local communities,” he said.

The study also found that younger Canadians are more likely to showroom shop. Three out of four respondents between the ages 18 and 34 said they have done it, while one in four said they do it often.

The survey of 1,510 consumers, who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, was conducted online from Sept. 11 to 13, 2019. The survey of small businesses was based on a sample of 1,370 retailers in Canada, and was conducted from Nov. 7 to Nov. 21, 2019.