PARIS: Increasing numbers of European consumers are conducting online research before buying expensive products, a study has found.

L'Observatoire Cetelem, part of BNP Paribas, commissioned TNS Sofres to survey 8,700 people in the region about their current attitudes and preferences.

The report argued that trust in advertising, brands and marketing has declined with shoppers looking at claims more closely and trying to save money.

"They are more suspicious than ever," it suggested.

In evidence of this, 60% of contributors now look "very carefully" at prices while weighing up competing items.

Elsewhere, half of the panel attempt to seek out promotions, reaching 66% in Portugal and Slovakia, 64% in Romania and 49% in France.

When considering acquiring offerings worth at least €160 ($218; £136), a 90% majority turned to the web as an information source.

Such activity can take a significant amount of time, with 48% of the French sample suggesting a two month gap typically elapsed between starting this process and making a final decision.

Six in ten under-30s said content on blogs and social media was often more reliable than comments on commercial sites, falling to 40% among over-50s.

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha, Forbes; additional content by Warc staff