North American Shoppers Not So Trusting of Professional Recommendations

July 5, 2013

Nielsen-Shopping-Research-by-Region-July2013North Americans appear to be more immune to professional recommendations than other shoppers around the world, according to [download page] a new study from Nielsen that surveyed more than 29,000 consumers in 58 countries around the world about their shopping habits. The report reveals that just 35% of North Americans somewhat or strongly agree that they trust products recommended by professionals, compared to the global average of 52%. Additionally, only 1 in 4 North Americans say they buy because of others’ influence, compared to the global average of 35%.

Those were but two of the shopping research areas in which North Americans lagged other citizens. They were also the least likely to collect information before shopping (51%, versus the 63% average), one of the least likely to shop around before purchasing (63% vs. 68% average), and the least likely to sample first before buying (47% vs. the 54% average).

Taken together, the results suggest that North Americans aren’t as interested in researching their purchases as respondents in other regions. By contrast, Latin Americans stand out as being particularly diligent about shopping around prior to purchasing, having preferred brands in mind and sampling first before buying, and researching financial products before choosing. Respondents in the Asia-Pacific region were also above-average in most regards, indexing highest in their propensity to collect information before shopping (71% vs. the 63% average).

The disparity in responses is a reminder that different cultures approach their shopping trips from various mindsets. However, there seems to be at least one constant: the power of price. Indeed, 65% of respondents overall somewhat or strongly agreed that price is their most important concern when shopping, with the range across regions almost non-existent, from a low of 64% to a high of 67%.

Similarly, most respondents across regions agree that free gifts are attractive and that they are aware of promotions and discounts. There was far less consensus on the question of buying on promotion in-store (lowest in North America at 31%; highest in Latin America at 68%) and of comparing prices with mobile phones (28% in North America versus 45% in Asia-Pacific and 34% on average).

About the Data: The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior was conducted between August 10 and September 7, 2012, and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their internet users and is weighted to be representative of internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. The Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion.

The full list of countries can be found in the report.

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