One Quarter of Consumer Electronics Purchases Happen Online

Over one quarter of consumer electronics (CE) purchases are made online. That’s one finding from “Understanding How Consumers Use the Internet to Research and Shop for CE Products,” conducted by Hall and Partners for the Consumer Electronics Association and Yahoo.

Of the $32.5 billion spent on CE products purchased in the last six months, $25.1 billion, or 77 percent, were influenced by online research. Though products are researched online three-quarters of the time, 45 percent of that group purchases offline.

Time spent researching a product online correlates to the price point. The overall average for researching products was 12 hours. However, cell phones average 9 hours of online research versus 15 hours for television purchases.

“Consumers naturally want to make informed CE buying decisions, and we found they are turning to the Internet for their research. This includes search engines, manufacturers’ Web sites, retail Web sites, and shopping engines,” said Tim Herbert, senior director of market research at the Consumer Electronics Association, in the study.

Research is conducted among researchers in different ways. Although demographics were similar, the study finds key differences between searchers and non-searchers. Searchers are defined as individuals who use search engines to learn about products to purchase. Forty-seven percent of on- and offline purchases in the CE category come from searchers. The group is more educated on purchases and more likely to advocate brands by word of mouth. Searchers consider more brands and are 114 percent more likely to respond to Internet display advertising they see in their research period.

The findings are from a 25-minute online interview using a representative, multisourced sample of intenders and purchasers of CE devices. The survey looked at the path to purchase of five categories, including televisions, digital cameras, cell phones, computers, and MP3 players.

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