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More than half of recent toy purchasers say manufacturer and store websites have had some influence on their buying decision, according to the Fall 2008 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey, Retailer Daily reports.

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Product reviews and other information and advertising found online also play a role in influencing buying decisions, the study found.

The most important factors as consumers shop for toys are “product quality” and “price,” followed by “product safety” and “educational value,” according to Ad-ology.

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Other survey findings:

  • Nearly 84% of consumers say they still prefer to buy toys at a store as opposed to online.
  • Those with high incomes, males, and married consumers report the most preference for online toy purchases.
  • 65% of recent toy purchasers were influenced by information or advertising from television. Newspapers and magazines were also among the most influential traditional media.
  • Half of households with children under 18 recently purchased toys, compared with only 18% of those without children.

“These results reveal an opportunity for independent toy retailers who specialize in unique, high-quality and educational toys and whose stores feature sales personnel knowledgeable about toys and child development,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “It is critical toy retailer websites show the quality and value of what they’re selling, the breadth of product selection and the expertise they provide.”

About the study: The Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey is conducted quarterly by Ad-ology Research to study online and offline media influence on buying decisions. It includes consumer-spending estimates on toy purchases Ad-ology Research surveyed an online consumer panel of 1,105 adults from August 25 to 28, 2008, in a manner that is 98% representative of the adult US population. Ad-ology Research is a division of Sales Development Services (SDS), Inc.

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