Online Research Influences 40% Of Offline CE Sales

By Alan Wolf On Mar 12 2012 - 4:01am

MIAMI — More than 40 percent of consumers research CE products online before purchasing them in stores or in person, a recent consumer survey shows.

According to “The Path to Consumer Electronics Purchases,” a new report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and BIGresearch, 41.2 percent of adults ages 18 and older regularly research their CE purchases online, and nearly half (49.6 percent) do so occasionally.

The numbers skew differently for consumers who prefer to shop at CE specialty retailers or online. Only 35.6 percent regularly research CE products on the web before buying them in specialty stores, compared with 62 percent of online shoppers.

Coupons remain the biggest trigger of online product searches for all shoppers at 37.6 percent, followed by magazines (36 percent), TV/broadcast (35.9 percent), and face-to-face communication (35.2 percent), the study shows.

The majority of consumers said they obtain the coupons online (53 percent) and from emails (60.5 percent).

Word-of-mouth remains the biggest influence on CE purchases at 41.3 percent, followed by in-store promotions (34.7 percent); articles (32.4 percent); TV/broadcast (27.7 percent); Internet advertising (26.1 percent); and email ads (25.3 percent).

Those channels greatly outweigh such recent forums as social media, which influence the CE purchases of only 14.2 percent of respondents, and mobile devices, which help sway 13.7 percent. Nevertheless, nearly 47 percent of all respondents said they have a QR code reader app, and that figure jumps to almost 55 percent among Internet shoppers.

“Broadcast, cable, newspapers and other media certainly play a role in influencing shoppers seeking consumer electronics, but the diversity of media it takes to truly reach buyers is eye-opening,” said Sherrill Mane, senior VP at IAB. “A close look at the findings reveals that digital is a key part of the ad buy puzzle when it comes to selling electronics. Consumers who are in the market for HDTVs, home audio set-ups and the like are clearly a tech savvy group, and that fact needs to be kept top-of-mind when trying to reach them as they consider their next major purchase.”

The full report is available at

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