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BizReport : Social Marketing : November 24, 2010

Time spent shopping online increases, face-to-face time decreases

Americans are spending more time researching purchases and shopping online, according to Harris Poll findings, and many are feeling the social consequences of life in front of a monitor.

by Helen Leggatt

harris interactive logo.jpgA quarter of U.S. adults have increased the amount of time they spend online shopping (24%) and reading product reviews (25%), found Harris Interactive's online survey.

Younger adults, aged 18-34, have increased their time spent doing both of these activities more than older adults, leading to speculation that this trend will continue.

Most Americans prefer to listen to others share opinions rather than offer up their own (53%) and six in ten place real value on the opinions shared via social media.

Harris Interactive questions whether something is "lost" in the comparatively lonely, faceless, online shopping experience? While price comparisons, product reviews and social media are plentiful online, are people lonelier as a result?

Their data appears to suggest that yes, Americans are having less face-to-face encounters and are feeling lonelier.

According to Harris, "When asked to think about their life and relationships in general, over half of online Americans say that they have had less face-to-face contact with friends recently (54%) and just under a third say they feel lonelier now, than they did previously (31%)."

However, recent research by ExactTarget appears to show the opposite. They found the majority of Facebook and Twitter users say their social networking use has had no impact on the amount of time they spend offline with friends and family.

"Concern that the latest networking technology will jeopardize face-to-face connections is nothing new," writes Garrison Wynn in the Washington Post. "In the late 1800s, people thought the telephone would destroy relationships when it actually ended up building them!"

Tags: online shopping, social media

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