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Shoppers fret over purchase decisions

News, 18 November 2015

LONDON: One third of consumers worry that they have made the wrong decision after buying a product, especially a major purchase where the typical buying cycle is measured in years, according to new research.

According to How people buy, a study of the consumer journey produced by Newsworks, the trade body, consumers now have access to too much information and are bombarded with messages, which makes their buying choices more unclear.

The study involved both qualitative and quantitative research, including an online survey among 2,000 adults aged 18-65 who ever read newsbrands (90% of the total number for that audience) in order to quantify the role of media touchpoints along the stages of the journeys

It reported that there is not necessarily a strong correlation between size of purchase and the level of planning that goes into it. "Even bigger purchases, where thousands of pounds change hands, can be impulsive," the report stated.

But it was apparent that brand preferences help consumers feel more certain about their purchases. Shoppers with brands in mind before they start looking to buy were less likely to worry about the choice they had made after buying (27%).

Media clearly help frame brand perceptions, helping people to form opinions as they semi-consciously absorb information on products, brands and retailers.

The research found that newsbrands play an important role within that mix, with readers trusting their chosen newsbrand to direct them to the choices that matter.

For the majority of consumers, newsbrands inferred relevance and a sense of 'rightness' onto brands: 84% of respondents agreed that if a newspaper recommends something, then there's a good chance they'll like it and a similar proportion (85%) said that just seeing a brand or product in their newsbrand "gives me more confidence that it's right for me".

Dr Nick Southgate, a behavioural economics expert who helped conduct the research, said: "When people make decisions what they truly desire is to make a confident decision. Regret, and the anticipation of regret, shadows our decisions and undercuts confidence."

Data sourced from Newsworks; additional content by Warc staff