Online Browsers Buy Through Retail: Survey

(Direct Newsline) More U.S. consumers buy through retail channels after researching their purchases online, according to a new study.

The number of shoppers who search the Internet for information about their potential purchases has increased by 10% since 2006, while the number actually making purchases has risen by only 4%, according to a consumer survey conducted by Vertis Communications.

The research found 71% visited a story after surfing the Web, and 65% actually made a retail purchase after doing some online research.

Electronic channels weren’t the only ones influencing consumption: 37% of online shoppers report being most influenced by advertising inserts, compared with 27% of the entire U.S. population. And 44% of online shoppers said they favored ad inserts over any other form of advertising, while 34% cited prime-time TV commercials as the most influential form of messaging.

“If retailers hone their marketing efforts in on key consumer segments—such as Americans devoted to browsing online before going in-store to shop—and design marketing campaigns around media these shoppers turn to most, then retailers can become more optimistic about boosting their holiday ROI,” said Vertis’s director of marketing research Scott Marden in a statement.

According to Vertis, the demographic makeup of online shoppers has shifted since 2006, with18% of the 18-24 age cohort now shopping. (This may be in part due to this younger group being more Web-comfortable, a fact Vertis didn’t mention.)

That said, only 29% of shoppers between 25 and 34 said the shopped online – a drop from the 39% within this group that did so in 2006 – and 30% of adults over 50 now shop online, compared with 23% from two years ago.

As Web shopping becomes more ubiquitous, lower-income shoppers have joined the fray. Twenty-two percent of those shopping online make less than $30,000 a year, compared with 18% in 2006. Conversely, only 33% of online shoppers make more than $75,000, down from 37% two years ago.

That’s not the only demographic shift: 31% of all singles now shop online, compared with 25% two years ago.

Vertis Communications surveyed 3,000 American consumers for its study.