A survey by US market researchers reveals that while consumers are searching for products on the internet in increasingly large numbers, many continue to buy them in more traditional ways.
comScore Networks says computers and consumer electronics are searched for online but that more than 90% of the subsequent purchases are made offline.
The study reveals the impact of internet search engines on the buying process and was sponsored by a division of Yahoo!
It also shows a significant delay between searches and purchases, nearly 40% of the latter being made between five and twelve weeks later.
Says comScore Networks vp James Lambertini: "Search cannot be thought of as solely a direct response marketing tool, especially in highly considered product categories where search activity can precede a purchase by as much as sixty to ninety days."
Generic product search terms such as 'camera' or 'plasma TV' account for more than 70% of the total search volume, prompting Lambertini to add: "It's critical that retailers consider generic search terms as an important part of their keyword strategy."
More than two million consumers worldwide participate in comScore research.
Data sourced from MrWeb.com (UK); additional content by WARC staff