Online plays key role

16 May 2012

NEW YORK: More than three-quarters of web users around the world research or browse information about brands online every week, according to new multimarket research.

Oracle, the technology specialist, and MarketTools, the insights provider, surveyed 3,111 adults in 15 nations, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, the UK and US.

They found that 80% of respondents researched or read about goods and services on the web each week, easily beating the 62% posted in similar analysis from 2009.

More specifically, 49% of the sample engaged in this activity every day, growing from 26% during the same period. These figures reached 90% and 78% in turn for those doing so on a monthly basis.

When it comes to making ecommerce purchases, 20% of the individuals questioned bought items via this route each week. This total hit 57% in China, where 10% of the panel acquired something online daily.

An additional 19% of contributors completed one or more electronic transactions every week, and 35% reported undertaking the same task monthly.

Upon being asked to name the most important qualities of relevant websites, 77% of interviewees referenced easy browsing and search, and 59% flagged up simple access to their account details.

Another 57% liked there to be a "live help" customer service tool, 44% pointed to user reviews, 32% cited optimised mobile apps and personalised deals, and 31% name-checked social sharing buttons.

Looking to social media, 35% of participants utilised Facebook, 10% belonged to Twitter and 4% had signed up to LinkedIn.

Among the members of these platforms who visited company pages, 62% were seeking out product news and information, 48% hoped to read user reviews and 32% desired coupons and promotions.

Elsewhere, 43% of this group wanted to receive direct answers to questions on this channel, and 31% expected customer service staff and product experts to be accessible through this medium.

"As consumers frequent online sites more than ever, they expect to engage with companies' customer service representatives while they are there," said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, at Oracle Retail.

Data sourced from Oracle; additional content by Warc staff