Who is buying online this holiday season?

Performics says “Discovery, Differentiation and Discounts Drive Online and Offline Holiday Shoppers to Search” and their new consumer research analyzes consumer shopping behavior and media consumption across seven consumer segments and nine vertical product categories.

In collaboration with ROI Research, Performics released survey results of 7,043 consumers on how search engines play a role in their purchasing decisions, seven demographic audience segments were questioned across nine different verticals.

Michael Kahn of Performic makes a key statement, “Consumers turn to search for different reasons, online strategies from one marketer to the next can look like night and day depending on the verticals and target segments each needs to navigate. In some cases, consumers use search to buy; in others, it’s a research tool, often used to find offline retail locations.”

Key differences across demographic segments were identified in how search is used in the purchase process, a few of these findings can be found below:

  • 81 percent of silver surfers (65 years and older) spend at least an hour/day on the Internet, utilizing search to find best prices and product information, but typically buying offline
  • 89 percent of African-Americans spend at least an hour/day on the Internet, most often using search to find offline locations, especially for automotive and electronic purchases
  • Baby boomers used search more than 75 percent of the time when purchasing automobiles, appliance and electronics
  • Gays/lesbians, who reported more overall shopping than other demographic segments in nearly every product category, used search most often to shop for automotive, appliance and electronic products and services

This online vs. offline dynamic emerged as a key theme. Some interesting findings include:

  • Travel reigned as the top online product category, with 70 percent of respondents reporting making their last Travel purchase online
  • Health care was the most dominant offline category, with 81 percent of consumers indicating their last purchase happened offline; yet 90 percent of respondents used search to research these purchases
  • Use of search was split almost evenly across the seven segments for telecommunication purchases, and 39 percent made their purchases online
  • Tweens were most likely to purchase apparel and electronics, but despite the notion that Tweens often “live” online, most make and recommend purchases offline

Liberty Interactive Marketing: We say that all advertising, on and offline works together.  Among all the clutter and the competition, you must be present online and ahead of your competition.  It does not necessarily mean having to spend more (although that does help), but in this economy it may make better sense to know who your customers are so that you can be there at the right time and the right place. It can be as simple as utilizing all resources online to make sure every brick and mortar location can be found easily online with an address, map, and phone number.  That your site is programmed efficiently for mobile accessibility. That your web site has an appropriate customer experience, in which consumers are able to access many different levels of information quickly and easily. Additionally important, is your visibility online within search engines and various shopping sites.  Can consumers find you, your products, and the information they need to make a purchase in-store or online? If they can’t, your competition is just one click away or up the street. What are you doing to keep the focus on you, to solidify the purchase process with every prospective customer?

Performics and ROI Research sought to gain a deeper understanding of the influence of search on consumer purchasing behavior including how frequently consumers use search to gather product information, compare prices, and look for specific brands or retailers. The study also tracked key demographics such as income, education and media consumption patterns. Read the full release here.

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