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More Shoppers Doing Research Online Before Buying
Does your product have a good online reputation? Let's hope so, because more and more shoppers are searching the Web before making purchases, according to a Wednesday study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
About 58 percent of people do online research before purchasing a particular product, up from 49 percent in 2004, Pew found. Of the 3,001 people polled, meanwhile, about 21 percent research products on the Web on any given day, up from 15 percent in 2007 and 9 percent in 2004.
"Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers," Jim Jansen, report author and a Pew senior fellow, said in a statement. "Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the Internet."
Many people also return to the Web to discuss their purchases. About 24 percent of respondents have posted online comments about gadgets they bought, showing a willingness to share, Pew said.
Pew did not find a huge difference between genders; 77 percent of men and 79 percent of women said they conducted online research. There was a larger difference when broken out by race. Eighty-one percent of white respondents said they'd researched products on the Web, compared to 76 percent of Hispanics, and 66 percent of African Americans.
Wealthier, more educated individuals were also more likely to surf the Web before buying. About 87 percent of Internet researchers were college graduates, while 88 percent made more than $75,000 per year.
The findings are in line with a May report Pew did about e-commerce, which found that the number of people buying things online increased from 36 percent in May 2000 to 52 percent in May 2010. About 52 percent of people have also made travel arrangements on the Internet, up from 22 percent in May 2000.