October 24, 2006 – The majority of electronic consumers research online for an average of 12 hours before making a purchase, according to a Consumer Electronics Association and Yahoo! Study released yesterday.
The study "Understanding How Consumers Use the Internet to Research and Shop for CE (consumer electronics) Products" consisted of a 25-minute survey of a sample consumer group who bought or were planning on purchasing electronics, including mobile phones, computers, digital media players, televisions, and digital cameras. In the study, CEA and Yahoo! tracked $32.5 billion worth of purchases and found that $25.1 billion, 77 percent, of those purchases were made after Internet research.
"Consumers naturally want to make informed CE buying decisions and we found they are turning to the Internet for their research," said CEA Senior Director of Market Research Team Tim Herbert.
The time spent researching online about the product was proportional to the price of the product. Not surprisingly, the higher the price, the longer the consumer researched. Out of the five categories studied (cell phones, computers, digital cameras, digital music players, and televisions), consumers spent the least amount of time researching cell phones at an average of nine hours. Consumers spent the most time on televisions at an average of 15 hours, according to the CEA press release yesterday.
Even though the majority of consumers bought their purchases offline through retail stores, consumers spent time on the web, attributing their online research to a variety of reasons. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed sought the net because it was easier to compare prices. Sixty-four percent simply found more variety online. Even with the average of 12 hours of research that consumers spend online before buying, nearly half of those who spent the time on the web still purchased offline.
The "information-hungry consumers," as Herbert described them in the release, use an average of six sources before shelling out the bucks for an electronic product. Other sources besides the Internet include print media, television ads, information from the store, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Nearly half of those surveyed, 47 percent, described themselves as "searchers" for information about their product purchases. The survey found that these searchers were more likely to pay attention to Internet advertisements and 114 percent more likely to spread the information through word-of-mouth than their non-searcher counterparts.
'Although 'searchers' and 'non-searchers' are very similar demographically, those who prefer to use the search to research and purchase CE products have a totally different mindset,' said Yahoo! Search Marketing Tech and Telecom Category Director David Rubinstein in the release. 'Their high level of engagement and willingness to share information with others makes them an ideal target audience for CE manufacturers and retailers,' he said.