Online Research Drives Purchasing Decisions – Duh!

PR 101 – issue joint-study with prestigious organization; leverage data to convince media of something they already know.  Yahoo!, while losing the search war, still wants to win the minds and hearts of consumers and web advertisers alike.  To let the media know they still have something tooffer, they’ve partnered up with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), that long-established all-boy’s club.

The resulting study supports, of all things, that online research boosts sales of stereos, MP3 players, TVs, DVD players, you get the idea…. What a surprise!  Their findings show that majority of consumer purchases (73%) stemmed from online research.  “Of the $32.5 billion spent on these goods online research from search engines and manufacturer and retail websites influenced about 77% ($25.1 billion) of sales.”

What does this mean for online marketers – shopping portals, recommendation services and social shopping services are going to rake in ever-increasing share of advertising.  What does it mean for consumers – hopefully it translates into improved services that provide more relevant data and are easy to use. 

It seems to me that the majority of social shopping services are missing a key component and that is the big B – what are they saying in the blogosphere.  If you can tap into the more than 3-million blog entries each day that include a mention of a specific product or service, you would have a goldmine of data from which to help guide your purchase decisions.
Established players like ShopWiki, Kaboodle, Shopzilla, and even start-ups like Wise aren’t providing the kind of information made easily digestable for consumer consumption.  The company that figures out how to make sense from the kaos will play a central role in the consumer value chain.  And, I hope that Yahoo! one day acquires them!

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