58% of consumers conduct pre-purchase online research
The investigative phase of the buying cycle of the typical adult shopper in the USA now frequently starts with online product research.
According to the latest Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 58% of American adults have done research online about the products and services they buy, up from 49% in 2004. The study was conducted with over 3000 adults between August 9 and September 13, with the findings released earlier this week.
On a typical day, one in five adults (21%) are searching for product or service information online, a 40% from the 15% level reached in September 2007.
According to Jim Jensen, a senior fellow with the Pew Research Center, the research clearly shows that more people are going online first to compare prices, make product comparisons, and read product reviews, even if they make their purchases in retail stores rather than online. As Jensen says, “even if they end up making their purchases in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the Internet.”
Interestingly, nearly a quarter (24%) of the respondents said they have posted comments or reviews online about the products and services they buy.
The Pew research also reported that 52% of Americans are now purchasing products online.
It definitely appears that shoppers start with the Internet, and then decide if, what and where to purchase.