New Tool Reveals How Consumers Research and Purchase Products

We've recently come across a new online tool that can help you to understand how consumers research and purchase products across different sectors and geographical markets.  It's called Consumer Barometer and it's based on data compiled by TNS, the IAB and Google.The tool is split into 4 main sections:- How Do Consumers Research and Purchase Products.- What is the Role of Search Engines in the Purchase Process.- See How Consumers Access the Internet.- Compare Purchase Behaviour Across Countries.Let's take each of these in turn so you can understand the insights that Consumer Barometer can offer you.How Do Consumers Research and Purchase ProductsAfter choosing your country (and you're looking for GB rather than UK) and your sector, you can see what proportion of consumers research products in that sector offline vs. online, and what proportion purchase products offline vs. online.So for the 'Clothing and Accessories' sector in Great Britain, the Consumer Barometer reveals that 25% of consumers purchase online vs. 75% who purchase offline. In terms of research, 28% of consumers do their research online only, 34% offline only, 14% both online and offline and 23% don't do research.  So although offline remains the customer preferred way of purchasing fashion, 48% are researching those purchases online.Consumer_Barometer_1And this section of Consumer Barometer offers deeper insights too. For example, only 2% of the consumers purchasing 'Clothing and Accessories' used a mobile phone to do their research.  The most common starting point in the purchase journey was a store visit, and that store visit was the most important factor in driving the purchase decision. Women were less likely to purchase online than men and those aged under 40 have a much higher propensity to purchase online than the average.Although it's likely that a fashion marketer will have these facts at their fingertips for their own brand, it's always insightful to see how a brand's experience compares with the overall market.  And in terms of researching a new geographical or demographic market, these insights could be invaluable.What is the Role of Search Engines in the Purchase ProcessThis tool is a little more straightforward and offers only one piece of information - for any product sector in any geographical market, what proportion of people use a search engine to research a product prior to purchase.So for example, the most popular product for GB consumers to research online before purchase is 'Leisure Flights' (63%) followed by 'Package Holidays' (62%) and 'Hotel Stays (60%). At the opposite end of the scale were 'Footwear' and 'Cosmetics/Beauty Products' (both 18%).Consumer_Barometer_2As with the previous tool, you can also filter by gender, age (above/below 40) and education(high/low).See How Consumers Access the InternetThis tool gives insight into which devices and technology people are using to access the internet. It gives figures on mobile device penetration - 51% for smartphones and 11% for tablets in the UK - and intent to purchase those devices amongst consumers that don't yet possess them.Consumer_Barometer_3Although not necessarily that insightful for our home market - most marketers will have these sort of stats are their fingertips for the UK - it is a quick way of researching new markets. For example, those planning a foray into the German market would be interested to learn that 9% of Germans still only have dial up connections and only 28% own smartphones.Compare Purchase Behaviour Across CountriesThis is a tool which allows you to quickly compare the stats provided in the previous 3 sections between 2 countries.So looking at the 'Footwear' sector for Great Britain vs. France, you can quickly see that although Brits are more likely to purchase footwear online than the French (21% vs. 16%), the French are more likely to research their footwear purchase online (43% vs. 37%) and use a search engine prior to purchase (22% vs. 18%).Comsumer_Barometer_4There's no indication as to whether the data that forms the basis of Consumer Barometer will be regularly refreshed and there's evidence it may already be a little out of date in some aspects (tablet penetration for example) but it's certainly a handy tool for understanding consumer habits by sector and researching the best entry strategy for new geographic markets.