LONDON: An increasing number of Europeans are using different media channels like television and online at the same time, resulting in a change in buying behaviour among many of these consumers, a new study by the European Interactive Advertising Association has found.

The EIAA conducted a total of 9,095 interviews in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

It reports that "media multi-tasking" is rapidly increasing in popularity, with almost a quarter of participants saying they regularly watch television while surfing the internet, up 38% since 2006.

Around 25% of those Europeans that are "mixing" media are in the 16–24 year old age range, with a further 29% falling into the 24–35 year old bracket.

Just 13% of "media multi-taskers" were aged 45–54 years old, while the over-55s segment is increasingly "meshing" media, up 75% on this measure since 2006.

Among the EIAA's other findings were that 53% of consumers utilising TV and online together regularly visit social networking websites, compared with 33% of those who did not combine media in this way.

Similarly, more than a third of the former group used their mobile phone to access social networks, email, instant messaging and other similar services.

This implies, the organisation argued, that they are "technologically sophisticated and more deeply engaged as a target market."

Some 57% of this demographic are also "more inclined to take onboard information from the websites of well known brands" when researching products or services, a figure that falls to 47% for respondents consuming one form of media at any given time.

People who synchronise their TV and web activity also buy nearly twice as many items online as those who do not, typically spending 26% on more these purchases, with the electrical and apparel categories both benefiting from this trend.

Six out of ten "multi-taskers" think they are able to buy better products or services by using the web, compared with 46% of "non multi-taskers."

A further 48% of the former group "admit to actively changing their mind about a brand", compared with 36% of non multi-taskers.

As such, "word of mouth" is turning into "word of web", and shows marketers that "consumers are becoming more empowered to formulate and communicate thoughts and opinions of brands online."

It also demonstrates the "need to effectively engage with audiences online to build and safeguard brand reputation," the EIAA says.

Alison Fennah, executive director of the organisation, added that brands "need to better understand how media can work most effectively together and reflect this in their marketing strategies."

Data sourced from EIAA; additional content by WARC staff