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Consumers who search online for televisions and digital cameras on average choose to spend 10% more when making their purchase in-store, compared with those who did not use a search engine, according to new research from Yahoo and ChannelForce.

The survey examined how consumers buy electronics offline and found that a vast majority research products online prior to making in-store purchases.

Key findings from the study:

  • The internet is the top resource for researching digital cameras and televisions:
    • 75% who researched their purchases before visiting a retail location used the internet as their primary source of information.
    • The leading online resources were retail websites (73%), manufacturer websites (68%) and search engines (49%).
  • Consumers who use search engines to research online spend more:
    • This group is a valuable target for marketers because these consumers are highly engaged, using twice as many sources as non-searchers – and they end up spending about 10% more.
    • Those who search spend an average of $31 more on digital cameras and $46 more on digital camera packages.
    • On average, they spend $139 more on TVs and $190 on TV packages.
  • The vast majority of those who research have already made key decisions about their purchases before they arrive at the store:
    • Some 80% of consumers who research before making a purchase say they ended up buying a brand from their original consideration set.
    • The remaining 20% say the in-store sales person was highly influential in their decision.
  • Despite the education on brands, consumers are often unsure about the advanced features of the product: About 75% of people did not know the model they wanted when they walked into a retail store.

“This study confirms and quantifies that a more informed consumer is a more valuable consumer,” said David Rubinstein, senior director, technology and telecommunications category, Yahoo Search Marketing. “Manufacturers have a huge opportunity here – even if they don’t sell products online, their online efforts are impacting what people are buying in stores.”

About the study: The survey was conducted between February and March 2007 via in-person interviews at Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry’s and Target stores. The 1,100 people interviewed included shoppers (people who shopped for products, but did not purchase during the store visit) and purchasers (people who purchased during the store visit). They were asked questions about how much education they had on their desired products when they walked into the store; where and how they researched the products; and the key sources that persuaded them to make a brand decision for purchase.

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