Internet Access became an American need for people to have access to email, news, games, and (more recently) social media. Being able to shop online is also a large positive of internet access, but a recent Nielsen survey shows that the internet may play a deeper role in purchase choices than we initially thought.
According to the survey, people were most likely to make a purchase based on (in order): advice of family/friends (around 77%), physically seeing a product in-store (72%), free samples (70%), searching the Web (67%), expert advice (66%) and TV and radio ads (59%).
Breaking it down by product categories, consumers replied that internet access is either “very” or “somewhat important” when making purchase decisions for electronics (81%), appliances (77%), books (70%), music/clothing (69% each), and automobiles (68%). At least 60% said it also influenced the buying of food, hygiene products, over-the-counter medicine, and hair care. And while social media was built as a way to connect with friends, the Nielsen survey discovered that 1/3 of U.S. consumers are actively researching products on social sites like Facebook.
So the internet isn’t just a place to come to buy a product; internet access allows you to take the entire shopping process (research, comparison, decision, and purchase) out of the retailer and into your home. One wonders if eventually we’ll need to leave the house for anything!