Internet Ads Prove Key Influence for CE Purchases

iab-ce-mass-media-purchase-influence-feb-2012.jpg26.1% of US electronics consumers say that internet advertising influences their consumer electronics purchases, placing the online medium behind only broadcast TV networks (27.7%) as the leading influencer among mass media, according to [pdf] an Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and BIGinsight survey released in February 2012. Email advertising (25.3%) and direct mail (22.4%) follow as significant purchase influencers, ahead of magazines (19.7%), cable (18.9%), newspaper (18.9%), radio (17.5%), and social media (14.2%).

Somewhat predictably, internet advertising (35.7%) and email advertising (35.9%) are the leading mass media influencers among those who prefer to buy consumer electronics on the internet.

Word-of-Mouth Still Rules, Though

When examining the influence of all media types (not just mass media) on consumer electronics purchases, the report finds that 41.3% of adults say their consumer electronics purchases are influenced by word-of-mouth, a proportion that rises to 49% among those who prefer to shop on the internet. In-store promotions are also critical, with 34.7% of electronics shoppers overall saying they are an influence, as is the influence of reading an article on a product (32.4%).

Other media found to have an influence on some consumers’ purchase decisions include coupons (23.6%), advertising inserts (23%), online video game advertising (11.9%), blogging (10.1%), and internet radio (7.8%).

Among female consumer electronics shoppers, though, blogs may be more influential than social media sites when these consumers are looking for help in making an electronics purchase. According to a survey released in January by BlogHer, which polled a sample of women from the general population and a sample from the BlogHer community, general population respondents were 30% more likely to use advice from blogs than information or updates from a social network (69% vs. 53%), while BlogHer community respondents were 50% more likely to do so (84% vs. 56%).

A February 2012 report from the Consumer Electronics Association shows that social media has quite an influence on users in making their consumer electronics purchase decisions, though. The study found that 81% of social media users are using social networks to find information to aid their consumer electronics purchase decisions. 24% of consumers who use social media say they always or almost always refer to social media sites before purchasing a consumer electronics device, while 38% say reviews or comments by someone they know influenced their decisions. Overall, 23% of users said they were influenced or strongly influenced by ads or promotions posted by a company on social media.

Digital Coupon Use Widespread

Meanwhile, data from “The Path to Consumer Electronics Purchases” indicates that among electronics consumers, 60.5% say they redeem coupons by printing them out from an email, compared to 53% who do so by printing them out from a website. Consumers who prefer to shop at specialty stores (69.1%) are the most likely to print coupons out from an email, while those who prefer to shop over the internet (64.1%) are most likely to say they print them out from a website.

Coupons Trigger Online Search

37.6% of consumers intending to purchase electronics are triggered to start an online search by coupons, with magazines (36%), TV/broadcast (35.9%), and face-to-face communication (35.2%) closely following as search triggers. Among those preferring to shop at a discount store, TV/broadcast (41.1%) and coupons (40.5%) are the leading search triggers, while those who prefer shopping at a specialty store follow the US population average in terms of their leading triggers. For those who prefer to shop over the internet, the leading trigger for an online search is reading an article (42.1%), followed by TV/broadcast (41.6%) and face-to-face communication (41.2%).

After searching, the leading ways to communicate with others about a service, product or brand across all groups are face-to-face, via email, and by cell phone.

Other Findings:

  • 9 in 10 consumers intending to purchase electronics either regularly (41.2%) or occasionally (49.6%) research products online before purchasing them in person or in a store. This rises to 97.3% of consumers who prefer to shop over the internet, with 62% reporting regularly researching products online first.
  • 46.8% of the overall group report having a QR code reader application, with internet shoppers (54.8%) by far the most likely to report having one.

About the Data: The Media Behavior and Influence Study was conducted online from October 26 to December 30, 2011, with a sample size of 24,578. 8,862 said they preferred to shop for electronics at a specialty store, 3,946 at a discount store, and 1,739 over the internet.