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Cisco-Cross-Channel-Shopping-Behavior-2012-v-2011-Jan2013US consumers are increasingly “channel-hopping” while shopping, finds Cisco in a January study. The study takes a close look at the “Digital Mass Market,” which comprises close to 8 in 10 shoppers. These shoppers are characterized by their use of digital sources  – including a PC (97%), mobile phone, tablet, or touchscreen (55%) – to help them decide what to buy, and consists of Gen Y (18-29) and Gen X (30-49) males, and Gen X and Boomer (50-64) females, with an almost even gender split. Within this key market segment, 29% have purchased in-store after searching on a mobile device, and 33% have purchased online from a PC after beginning their journey on a mobile device. Those figures are up from 24% and 26%, respectively, in the previous year’s survey.

One other cross-channel activity also increased in 2012 as compared to 2011, according to the study. 65% of the Digital Mass Market researched on a PC before buying in-store, up from 57% the previous year. The kiosk-to-store purchase path held steady at 18%, as did the store-to-online (commonly referred to as “showrooming”) path, at 40%.

Another notable shift observed in the report is the growing influence of online reviews. 52% of the consumers surveyed (not just the Digital Mass Market) said that online reviews from retailer websites are a top-3 direct influence on their buying behavior, up from 44% in 2010. Online reviews overtook recommendations from friends and family (down from 60% to 49%) as the leading buying influence, and remained ahead of online expert reviews (which rose from 29% to 42%).

These results align with recent research from Weber Shandwick, which found consumers basing their consumer electronics purchases more on consumer-generated than professional reviews. An earlier study from Ipsos revealed that 8 in 10 online American aged 18-64 agree that online reviews help them decide whether or not to purchase a product.

About the Data: The Cisco results are based on a survey of 1,069 US consumers, 47% of whom are aged 18-39. 51% are male.

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