Online product research takes up a substantial portion of the time many consumers spend shopping, according to [pdf] a study from the e-tailing group and PowerReviews. Data from “The 2011 Social Shopping Study” indicates that 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online product research, with 15% spending 90% or more of their shopping time in this manner.
In 2010, only 21% of consumers spent 75% or more of their shopping time conducting online product research, meaning this percentage has more than doubled in one year. Meanwhile, the percentage spending 50-74% of their shopping time conducting online research stayed flat at 29%, as did those spending 1-14% of their shopping time researching products online at 8%. MarketingVox advises companies to combat the growing problem of faked online reviews as many shoppers spend substantial time conducting online product research.
1 in 3 Shoppers Spends a Few Days Researching Information-Intensive Products
One in three (34%) shoppers spends a few days conducting online research about information-intensive products such as computers, appliances and TVs before making a purchase. This is the single most popular period of time for shoppers to spend doing research in 2011, interestingly it was not a response in 2010.
Twenty-two percent of shoppers will only spend a few hours performing online research before purchasing an information-intensive product, down 24% from 29% in 2010. In addition, the percentage spending a week has dropped almost 60% (29% in 2010, 12% in 2011).
Search Engine Top Starting Point
When asked where an online product research process usually starts, more than four in 10 (44%) start with a search engine and look for top search results relating to the product they desire. Another one in three (33%) start with retailer sites.
One in five (20%) use manufacturer sites. Only a combined 3% start their online product research process with the social media methods of reaching out for Facebook recommendations or posting a question on Twitter.
7 in 10 Consumers Rarely or Never Use Social Sites for Product Research
A combined seven in 10 (71%) consumers either never (49%) or rarely (21%) reads and researches products on social sites to gather ideas. Another 13% sometimes uses social sites for this purpose. Only a combined 16% of consumers often (10%) or always (6%) reads and researches products on social sites to gather ideas.
J.D. Power: Home Appliance Owners Research before Retail
Increasing proportions of home appliance owners say they choose which appliance brand to purchase first, then visit a retailer carrying that brand, rather than selecting the retailer first, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study and the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study. The extent of this shift in shopping behavior varies slightly by appliance type.
For example, the largest increase is observed among owners of ranges, cooktops and ovens. Approximately 44% of these owners in 2011 say they selected their appliance brand first, up 16% from 38% in 2010. The smallest increases occur in the clothes dryer and refrigerator segments.
About the Data: 1,004 adults filled out an online survey. Respondents shopped online four times or more during the past year, spending at least $250 online annually for products and services.