Research Before Online Purchase

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

There are so many tasks that have become immeasurably easier thanks to the Internet that it is hard to imagine how we ever survived without it. Shopping is a great example. Before the Internet, researching products meant going to the library to read Consumer Reports, browsing store circulars, going to different stores to compare prices and inventory, sorting through coupons, and then driving back to the store to finally make a purchase. Who had the time or energy to that before every purchase? Enter the Internet, and suddenly I wouldn’t dream about purchasing anything, no matter how big or small, without looking at product ratings/reviews, comparing prices, and searching for coupons. And I am not alone. 65% of respondents in the latest Online Shopper Intelligenceâ„¢ study said they conducted research before their most recent online purchase.

Propensity to conduct research steadily increased with basket value. For purchases under $25, half of the buyers conducted research, where as 81% of consumers spending $100 or more conducted research before making their purchase. Even more interesting is that for purchases under $10, 41% of consumers conducted research. It seems that the Internet has made researching products so easy that we will put in a little extra effort even if it means saving only a few dollars.

Also interesting is how the propensity to conduct research varied by the type of item purchased. Electronics and shoe buyers were about twice as likely as movie, music, or video purchasers were to conduct research prior to purchasing.

Where are people conducting all this research?

Retail websites, search engines, and retailer emails, however, were the top 3 resources buyers used. Given this behavior, it seems that it is very important for retailers to provide helpful, relevant, and up to date product information on their websites, optimize their SEO and SMO strategies, and also maintain regular contact with consumers via email. Overall, one thing is clear: online shoppers take advantage of the plethora of tools and information available to them and nothing will stop them from seeking out the best deal.

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.