Buyer Behavior Varies by Niche

Study shows search engine usage depends on the product.

by staff writer
- Mar 04, 2010

While the majority of online consumers use search engines when they shop, how buyers use online resources differs from niche to niche, according to a new study.

The Compete Online Shopper Intelligence study finds that 94 percent of online buyers research products before they buy, and 61 percent use search engines when looking for items. That number is greater than the number of shoppers who visit coupon sites (35 percent); read retailer e-mails (29 percent); browse product reviews (24 percent); or visit shopping comparison sites (22 percent).

However, online buyers looking for apparel were the least likely to use search engines. Instead, they opted for product catalogs and promotional e-mails from sellers—and they were more likely to buy items from merchants they've done business with in the past, the study notes.

Buyers looking for electronics were more likely to visit retail Web sites (59 percent) than rely on search engines (45 percent). Recommendations from family and friends were also key factors for these shoppers when deciding what to buy. However, buyers looking for kitchenware and appliances were more likely to put importance on product displays when making purchases.

Sellers should take note of these differences among shoppers to attract more buyers and increase sales, the researchers suggest.

"It's essential for retailers to understand how consumers in their space shop online in order to effectively retain and acquire customers," the reports states. "Instead of trying to utilize all available outlets, retailers should understand their particular customer niche and develop strategies unique to them. In an environment with tight consumer wallets and even tighter marketing budgets, retailers can't afford to invest their money in resources their customers don't use."

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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