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.
How powerful is the Apple brand?
I read last week that the Apple iPhone share of the U.S. smart phone market for the fourth quarter was an amazing 28%. This was up from the 19% level in the third quarter.
This means that Apple sold more iPhones in the fourth quarter than the number of smart phones sold by Palm or Motorola. Even more amazing – Apple outsold all of the various Windows mobile devices combined in the fourth quarter!
Chalk up another victory for Steve Jobs over the boys and girls at Microsoft!
The only mobile phone vendor to outsell Apple in the fourth quarter was RIM makers of the Crackberry…..oops, I mean Blackberry smart phone. They had 41% market share.
Now when is the iPhone being released in Australia???
The iPhone is going to make a great case study in how to launch a new product in what was previously considered a saturation market.
A powerful brand. An innovative product. A great launch strategy. Sort of sounds like Marketing 101 to me.
Consumers spent over US$29 billion in online e-commerce holiday season shopping over the last two months of 2007, according to figures released by comScore (www.comscore.com). According to comScore this is a 19% gain over the US$24.6 billion spent online during the 2006 holiday spending spree.
The two heaviest spending days wereÂ Monday December 10th (US$881 million) and Tuesday December 11th ($819 million).
Video games, consoles and accessories were tracked as the fastest growing online retail category, with an increase of 129% over 2006, driven mostly by popular consoles like the Nintendo Wii and the Sony Playstation, plus games like Halo 3, the Simpsons and NBA 2008.
Furniture, appliances and equipment as a category was up 67% while event ticket sales during this period rose 24% and consumer electronics were up 23%.
These figures should certainly make the credit card industry happy, since the great majority of all retail e-commerce transactions are charged to a credit or debit card account.
It couldn’t happen at a worse time for the U.S. toy industry.
As the official Christmas buying season kicks off on Friday this week, following Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched an initiative to remind parents of a wide variety of toy safety hazards. This initiative is suppose to convince parents and others that CPSC has stepped up its inspection efforts (which led to CPSC recalling 61 toys involving 25 million product units last year) and that the Chinese government has signed new agreements to prevent lead-painted and other unsafe toys from being exported to the USA.
And earlier this week, the California Attorney General’s office announced that it was suing Mattel, KB Toys, Toys “R” Us, and Wal-Mart for knowingly selling lead-tainted products.
Meanwhile, leading consumer advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PRIG) just released its “Trouble in Toyland” report, which points out that “hazardous toys are still sold in stores around the country.”
“It’s going to take toy companies a long time to earn back the trust of consumers,” says U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski, whose organization claims that toy manufacturers have long fought responsible regulation of the industry.
MediaPost Publications Marketing Daily has a good article on this situation and you can read the whole story here.
Does anyone have examples of consumer fears or government agency actions in other countries that they would like to share? Please send them to us using the comment section below and we will upload these to this blog and also share them with our 1000+ Monday Morning Marketing Memo readers.
For now, however, as the all-important Christmas season gets under way, the toy industry in the U.S. is facing some major branding, corporate image, marketing, and customer retention issues. These folks may not have a whole lot to be professionally thankful for when they sit down to their traditional turkey dinners on Thursday night.
Online retail shopping surpassed the $100 billion mark in the USA for 2006, according to comScore Networks, a digital research firm. It is the first time this milestone, which does not include online travel expenditures, has been exceed in a calendar year.
Interestingly, consumers spent $24.6 billion online between November 1st and the end of the year, according for almost one-fourth of total online shopping during these two months.
According to comScore Networks, online retail spending now accounts for 7 percent of all U.S. retail spending, excluding food, autos and gas.
As retailers get smarter about the online environment, including allowing online purchases that can be picked up and/or returned at a physical store, there seems to be little chance that online shopping will not continue to grow unabated.