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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : October 04, 2010

Pew: Most American researching products online

Just one more reason to keep product information up to date and easily accessed: according to a new report from Pew Internet and American Life Project the bulk of Americans are researching product purchases online.

by Kristina Knight

The report finds that 58% of American are now researching online, a nearly 10% increase from Pew's 2004 report.

pewIALP.jpgAnd one more reason to include product information: nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans are placing product reviews on websites for products or services which they have tried.

"Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers," said Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and author of a new report about online product research. "Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the internet."

As consumers are researching product purchases these consumer reviews begin to hold more weight in their decisions. Although most consumers still turn to trusted friends for product information, product reviews on brand or manufacturer websites do help consumers in their decision making. Before asking a friend, for example, many consumers will look to manufacturer or brand sites to find information. From there, they may ask a friend or look to a contact within a social network to help them make a final decision.

How much attention is given to product reviews? According to the e-tailing group's 2010 Social Shopping Study 57% of consumers say that online product reviews are 'valuable' as a resource. Customer reviews and ratings were found to impact about 72% of consumers purchase decisions.

Tags: consumer reviews, online shopping, Pew Internet and American Life Project, product research, product reviews

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