Online Shoppers Rely on Search Engines

February 23, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Email | Paid Search | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op | Retail & E-Commerce | Technology

Ninety-four percent of online shoppers conduct research prior to making a purchase and 61% of online shoppers always or often use search engines, according to the Compete Online Shopper Intelligence Study.


Search Engine Usage Varies by Product
Although overall search engine usage by online shoppers is high, it varies greatly depending on what type of product is being bought. For example, apparel shoppers are the least likely to use search engines. Only 12% of apparel shoppers stated that they used a search engine for their last online purchase.


Instead, apparel shoppers rely on retailer emails, web sites and catalogs to learn about products. That means consumers are more likely to purchase from apparel retailers they have purchased from in the past and are less likely to discover new retailers.

Electronic shoppers, on the other hand, actively seek out new products and manufacturers. Although electronic shoppers also use search engines less than the general population (45%), 59% use retailer websites. Other relatively popular means for electronic shoppers to conduct research before making a purchase include professional reviews, social generated reviews, and recommendations from family and friends. Electronic manufacturers can, therefore, reach and influence these consumers more easily and though a variety of mediums.


Other Findings

  • More than 80 million consumers use comparison shopping sites, with sites including Cnet, Bizrate, and Yahoo Shopping attracting more than 20 million consumers each.
  • Shoe shoppers are the most likely to use sales assistants, both online and in-store.
  • Online kitchenware and household appliance purchasers are among the most reliant on in store product displays.

Six in 10 Online Shoppers Get Poor Recommendations
Online retailers are not properly utilizing product recommendations as a means of providing information to shoppers, according to a recent study from ChoiceStream which indicates the quality of product recommendations on retailer websites significantly declined in 2009.

Study results reveal that 59% of shoppers said they received poor quality product recommendations from retailer websites in 2009. This is a substantial 31% increase from the 45% of shoppers who reported poor quality product recommendations in 2008. Response to this question remained virtually flat between 2007, when 46% of shoppers reported poor quality product recommendations, and 2008.

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