Thursday, November 09, 2006

77% of US electronics customers research online

The US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Yahoo! revealed recently that 77% of surveyed consumers do online research before buying any of 5 specified electronic items.

The interesting question is: what stops these researchers from actually buying online? And more to the point, can we use these figures to predict that 77% of electronics purchases will one day be online?

Mail order companies long ago concluded that personality type was the key to sorting the heavy home shopper from the average mail order hating consumer. Both groups explained their channel preference by saying 'it is just easier'. It is clear that by reducing uncertainty ecommerce has increased the percentage of the population who've had a good experience home shopping. But the fact that 77% of buyers are researching online yet far fewer are actually buying online shows that ecommerce still seems risky to most people. Whether it is the risk of ID theft or the worry that online pictures don't give an accurate impression, fear is holding back millions of potential online shoppers.

We think: The dramatic growth of ecommerce isn't going to slow down soon. As this study shows, the vast majority of consumers are now researching online. As every year passes, more and more will try shopping online. Most will have a positive experience and this will lead to more online purchases. In the meantime, retailers should add suitable content to their websites to engage and help the inevitable online researchers, and offer enticing promotions to help get resolute offline buyers over the 'fear barrier'.

Lysander Meath Baker
Digivate - Ecommerce website design and online marketing

Source: CEA - Yahoo! survey

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