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SF Retailers Offer Free Wi-Fi 4x More Often Than in New York

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Shop Wilkes Bashford's luxe brands while browsing the web; photo via Wilkes Bashford

The numbers are in, and it's clear that SF trumps NYC in Wi-Fi connectivity. Virtual hotspot aggregator Devicescape (as described by GigaOM) recently released a study that compared the availability of open wi-fi access in the two metropolitan cities and found that retail stores in SF are four times more likely to offer Wi-Fi to customers than stores in NYC. And though it might seem counter-intuitive, having Wi-Fi in stores is actually an advantage for retailers. According to a survey by Deloitte, smartphone users connecting to the internet in a store are 14% more likely to make a purchase from that retailer.

Image via Devicescape

SF leads NY in all categories, but the biggest discrepancy exists for retail stores at 39% for SF and only 9% for NYC. Devicescape blames the difference in customer base as a plausible explanation: SF is a tech hub (in large part, thanks to neighboring Silicon Valley) while NYC leads in finance and as a "cultural trendsetter." But with Mayor Bloomberg and Google promising more free Wi-Fi in NYC, the gap may begin to narrow in coming months.
·2013 Amenity Wi-Fi Analytics Report: SF vs. NYC [Official Report]
·East Coast vs. West: SF beats NYC hands down in open Wi-Fi availability [GigaOM]
·Why stores are finally turning on to WiFi [CNNMoney]