Alpharetta, Ga. - CE shoppers do more research online than they do in-store before buying a CE product or major appliance, and they turn to family, friends and colleagues for information more than they turn to print media, TV and in-store salespeople, a MarketSource survey found.
MarketSource, a market research company and provider of integrated sales and market services, conducted a nationwide online survey for TWICE to determine the factors that drive consumers to buy specific products from specific retail outlets. The company compiled responses from adults in 505 households, yielding a sample size considered statistically robust and providing a significance level of +/-5 percent at a 95 percent confidence level, MarketSource said. Respondents had to be at least 18 years of age.
A total of 81 percent of surveyed respondents said they research planned purchases by going online. (See Table 1.) Of those who go online, 68 percent begin their online research before ever setting foot in a store, and they spend at least 53 minutes conducting research.
Old-fashioned footwork is not out of vogue, however. Sixty-seven percent of respondents conduct in-store research before making a purchase, and 61 percent also talk it up with family, friends and colleagues before buying.
Old media and salespeople fared less well. Only 45 percent of consumers said they use magazines or newspapers as a resource. Respondents weren't asked if they conducted their print research by reading articles or by perusing the ads. Only 37 percent said they turned to the TV for information, and only 33 percent bothered to talk to a salesperson.
In conducting their research, consumers rank price, features and product reviews as the most important factors influencing their buying decision, in that order. (See Table 2.) The next most important factors were warranties, recommendations from family/friends/colleagues and overall style. Warranties are slightly more important to men than to women, and women are generally more influenced by brand name, MarketSource also found. Men and women, however, are equally influenced by price, features and reviews, in that order.
To develop the rankings, respondents were given a list of seven factors influencing their choice of products and asked to rank them in order from most to least important, with 1 representing most important. Each respondent's numerical response was added up and divided by the total number of respondents to reach an average rank.
To find out where they shop, MarketSource asked respondents to rank 12 factors that influence their choice of online and physical shopping venues. (See Table 3.) The most important attribute in selecting a place to shop was in-stock availability, followed closely by wide selection, the ease of finding a specific product and honoring advertised discounts, in that order.
Next came a knowledgeable sales staff, followed by a liberal return policy, clear product information or explanatory displays, and ease of checking out.
When asked which physical stores they would go to first to shop, consumers ranked Best Buy on top followed by Walmart, Target and Sears. Top online destinations of choice were Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Sears, in that order.
Of the 505 adult respondents, 73 percent were female. Thirty-eight percent had a college degree. Twenty-two percent had a graduate degree. Twenty-eight percent had some college education, and 12 percent had a high-school education.
Twenty-four percent had household incomes of more than $100,000. Twenty-one percent had household incomes of more than $75,000 but less than $100,000. Twenty-six percent had incomes of more than $50,000 but less than $75,000. And 22 percent had incomes of more than $25,000 but less than $50,000.