Online Shopper Intelligence Study Released

The Compete Online Shopper Intelligence study provides powerful insight into the complete online shopping experience.  For more consumers insights, please contact Matt Pace at or Debra Miller at for more information.

From instant price comparisons, to first hand consumer reviews, to video demonstrations, shoppers have a plethora of information about any product only a click away.  And indeed, consumers are taking advantage of this wealth of information.   For instance, every month, over 80 million consumers use shopping comparison sites; some sites, like Cnet, Bizrate, and Yahoo! Shopping each attract over 20 million shoppers.  In fact, only 6% of consumers surveyed as part of the Online Shopper Intelligence™ study indicated that they conducted no research prior to their last online purchase.  So, among the myriads of online resources available, which do shoppers use most often?

Overwhelmingly, consumers depend on one resource more than others to help them shop online"”search engines.   3 out of 5 shoppers said that they always or often use search engines when shopping online.  More consumers use search engines than they do coupon sites, retailer emails, consumer reviews, or shopping comparison sites.

More interesting than what sources consumers use in general is the variability of use across industry.  For instance, sales assistants, both in store and on web chat, are utilized by online shoe shoppers more than any other shoppers.  Online kitchenware & household appliance purchasers are among the most reliant on in store product displays.   The differences in consumer behavior across various industries have vast implications for retailers within each sector.

Take the apparel industry for example.  Apparel shoppers are the least likely to use search engines.  Only 1 out of 10 apparel shoppers stated that they used a search engine for their last online purchase.  Instead, apparel shoppers rely on retailer emails and catalogs to learn about products.  That means consumers are more likely to purchase from apparel retailers they have purchased from in the past and are less likely to discover new retailers.   Retailers looking to acquire new customers have to work harder to find and woo consumers.

Electronic shoppers, on the other hand, actively seek out new products and manufactures.  Search engines, professional reviews, social generated reviews, and recommendations from family and friends were among the top 5 resources used.  Electronic manufactures can, therefore, reach and influence these consumers more easily and though a variety of mediums.

It is essential for retailers to understand how consumers in their space shop online in order to effectively retain and acquire customers.  Instead of trying to utilize all available outlets, retailers should understand their particular customer niche and develop strategies unique to them.  In an environment with tight consumer wallets and even tighter marketing budgets, retailers can’t afford to invest their money in resources their customers don’t use.

About Debra Miller Arbesman:
Debra Miller Arbesman is senior associate, retailer and consumer products at Compete, a Kantar Media company that helps brands improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers.