A new MC DC (Marketers & Consumers, Digital & Connected) report conducted in 16 European countries has found that 90% of European internet users now go online to search for information at least once a week and six out of 10 do so daily.
More than four in 10 consumers search for information on brands and products via comparison, expert and user review sites and a third of European internet users have sold something to another user via online classified or auction sites.
In co-operation with IAB Europe, an online survey was conducted for the report among 32,000 internet users aged 15 and over in 16 countries and a bulletin board of 200 European digital media users was used over a period of 6 weeks.
"Search engines play an important part in every step of the purchase process: 59% of internet users search at least on a weekly basis for products or services they wish to buy," the researchers found. "But surfers are impatient. They do not want to browse several search results pages and are demanding when working with search engines. They expect the top of the list to contain the most relevant search results, since 41% gives up after checking the first 10 search results, 7 out of 10 gives up after scanning 20 search results."
"Several trends have led to changed consumer behaviour, including social networking, conversing, sharing, tagging, content generation, and community participation," say the researchers. "These activities have seriously influenced consumers’ buying behaviour as well. Nowadays, it is more 'DCC' — 'discovery', 'comparison', and 'conversation'."
Consumers across Europe are well connected and have a much wider range of tools available in the pre-buying phases, the research found. The huge number of customer rating and review sites mean that e-commerce has become 'we-commerce', allowing consumers to evaluate brand alternatives before buying.
This phenomenon clearly influences consumer buying behaviour. Across product categories, more than four out of 10 consumers search for information on brands and products via comparison, expert and user review sites.
Further details are available to view (registration required) on the MC DC website.