Younger shoppers are most influenced by online opinions, according to a study by Hill & Knowlton. The research indicates that as a result of the recession, more consumers are looking for bargains online, and younger consumers are looking to web communities and blogs for advice on where to shop. When more than 600 U.S. adults were asked how the economic downturn has changed the way they purchase everyday items, the most common answer was, "Shop online for better bargains." That response was chosen by 50 percent, and 46 percent said they shop less, both online and offline, overall.
More than a third said they shop online more for convenience, while 15 percent said they shop offline more to make sure a product is worth the money, and nine percent said they shop offline more to avoid the risk of fraud or identity theft. Respondents could choose more than one answer. "Our research indicates that online shopping increases in a downturn, providing a potential offset for offline retailers experiencing revenue losses in the downturn," said Joshua Reynolds, worldwide technology practice director at Hill & Knowlton.
A large majority (83 percent) of respondents said personal experience most influences where they shop online. That was followed by the influence of family members, cited by 48 percent; a friend, by 44 percent, and an offer or ad from an online store, 43 percent. But there was a big age divide when it comes to the influence of online communities or blogs. These influenced the shopping behavior of 27 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, and 19 percent of those aged 35 to 44, in contrast to just nine percent of those aged 55 and older.
The study also contained the following findings:
- Consumers are most likely to share shopping experiences face to face, according to 82 percent, and by phone (55 percent), followed by email, cited by 52 percent.
- Asked about a few major ecommerce players, 79 percent said it is somewhat or very likely they will shop at Amazon.com in the next year, 73 percent on eBay, and 58 percent at Target.com. Of respondents, 81 percent said they have a somewhat or very positive view of Amazon, compared with 78 percent for eBay and 61 percent for Target.com.
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