58% of US Consumers Perform Online Research Before Buying

The Pew Research Center has just published the results of a study on American’s e-commerce habits. Among the findings: 58% of Americans now report that they perform online research on the products and services that they are considering buying. That is an increase from 49% who said they conducted product or service research online in 2004.

The number of those who do research about products on any given day has jumped from 15% of adults in September 2007 to 21% in September 2010. From February 2004, the number of adults conducting research on any given day has more than doubled, up from 9%.

In addition to reading about products and services online, more American Adults than ever are contributing reviews and sharing their opinions about products and services, particularly via social networks: 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy, indicating a willingness to share their opinions about products and the buying experience with others.

The Pew study also looked at Americans’ e-commerce spending habits and found, not surprisingly, that the percentage of Americans purchasing products online rose from 36% in May 2000 to 52% in this 2010 survey. And the percentage making travel reservations for airline tickets or hotel rooms rose from 22% to 52% over the same time period.

The study found little difference between men and women’s online research habits, but did find that those in higher income brackets do more online research than those in lower income brackets. Some 87% of online college graduates and 88% of those earning $75,000+ use the internet to do research on products or services.

“Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers,” says Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. “Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the internet.”

Read More Here:  www.PewInternet.ORG

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