BRUSSELS: Around half of Europe's online consumers think the internet is an important channel in helping them decide which brand of financial product or service to buy research has shown.

The Mediascope Survey from IAB Europe used an omnibus and online methodology to poll 51,700 people across 28 EU markets, including 13,915 banking and finance consumers. It found that two thirds of internet users visited banking or finance websites at least once a month and that more than half felt the internet was helping them manage their finances better.

It was also a significant influence in choosing brands: 47% of European internet users generally, and 52% of banking and finance consumers specifically, said it was important in this regard. The 35-44 age group (64%) was especially keen.

More than half (53%) of banking and finance consumers said the internet aided them in choosing better products and services, a figure which rose to 64% among 45-64 year olds.

And 27% indicated they were more likely to follow their favourite brands online, a proportion that reached 40% among 16-29 year olds.

A brand's online presence was therefore vital to reaching consumers. Around half (49%) said they were more likely to research brands they saw advertised online and a slightly smaller percentage (44%) said they were influenced by the way a brand communicated online. Further, one third were more likely to buy products from brands they followed on social media.

Fully 22% of banking and finance consumers bought financial products or services online while another 13% bought offline after doing online research.

More generally, banking and finance consumers were found to buy more products online than the average European – 15 in a six month period against 13 – and to spend more on those products – €627 vs €545.

Data sourced from IAB Europe; additional content by Warc staff