The Internet plays an important role in influencing new product purchases -- especially in categories like consumer electronics and appliances.
Overall, people were most likely to make a purchase based on the advice of family and friends (77%), followed by seeing a product in the store (72%), receiving a free sample (70%), searching the Web (67%), expert/word-of-mouth advice (66%) and watching TV ads (59%), per a new global survey by Nielsen.
In addition to actively searching online, people were also influenced via the Internet through brand or manufacturer Web page (55%), articles (53%), forums and message boards (43%), social media (43%), banner ads (42%) and video-sharing sites (37%). Does that mean people are paying more attention to banner ads than we think?
On the mobile front, 27% said they were more likely to buy a new product based on information gained through a text message.
Looking at product categories, consumers said the Internet is very or somewhat important when making purchase decisions for electronics (81%), appliances (77%), books (70%), music and clothing (each 69%) and cars (68%). At least 60% said it also influenced buying in relation to food and beverages, personal hygiene, personal over-the-counter medicines and hair care.
While social media is mainly a way to connect with friends, the Nielsen study found that about one-third of U.S. consumers are actively researching products via social sites.
With the launch of Graph Search in January, Facebook began allowing people to search the world’s largest social network for people, places, photos and interests.
“Consumers are increasingly finding the Internet and mobile vehicles just as compelling as other more traditional advertising,” stated Rob Wengel, SVP, Nielsen Innovation Analytics, in a Monday blog post. “Social media can also be an effective soundboard to hear about potential issues or to identify future innovation opportunities.”
He added that social media can work especially well in combination with TV ads to enhance recall as well as to foster brand engagement and listen to consumers. “The Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment” surveyed more than 29,000 people with Internet access from 58 countries about new product awareness.