Online Shoppers Listen to Word-of-Mouth

Online Shoppers Listen to Word-of-Mouth

AUGUST 9, 2007
Debra Aho Williamson, Senior Analyst

it is common knowledge that consumers use their ears to help make
purchase decisions — by listening to the advice of others — they
continue to regularly use their eyes, according to BIGresearch‘s "Simultaneous Media Usage Study 10" report.

More than half of consumers surveyed (51.6%) said something they
saw in a magazine prompted them to conduct an online search. Nearly the
same number (47.7%) said reading an article led to a search. Broadcast
TV, newspapers and cable TV rounded out the top five, while
face-to-face communication was sixth, at 35.3%.



The words of others ring loud when it comes to influencing
electronics purchases, the survey found. Word-of-mouth was cited by
45.1% of respondents. However, the eyes still have it here as well:
37.8% said reading an article was influential and about 29% cited
either magazines or newspaper inserts. About 24% said online
advertising was influential.


The BIGresearch study did not separate out whether the word-of-mouth
came online (in the form of reviews, blogs, etc.) or from offline
means, nor did it say whether a person read an article online or in
traditional media. In the consumer electronics category, the Internet
is an especially strong source of information, according to a study
conducted by Fabrizio, MacLaughlin & Associates for the Lumin Collaborative: 50% of people cited it, vs. 15% who said the Internet was a source of food and beverage information.


The one-two punch of word-of-mouth and the Internet in electronics purchases was also evident in a study by Ketchum and the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center.
One-third of respondents said they got their advice from family and
friends, and 29.9% indicated a consumer electronics company Web site
provided information.

Much has been made in the past few years about the benefits of
word-of-mouth and the rapid rise of online word-of-mouth, in
particular. eMarketer estimates that 66 million US adults, or about 29%
of the population, regularly give advice about products or services.


Of those offering advice, 26.8 million are influential online — amounting to 17.5% of US adult Internet users.

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