NEW YORK: Social networks, email and coupons are exerting an increasingly strong influence on the products US consumers choose to buy online, a study has revealed.

Kantar Media Compete, the research firm, surveyed 2,574 shoppers that had recently bought goods and services through the web.

When discussing the impact of social networks on purchase decisions, 35% of interviewees agreed information consumed on Twitter had played a role in this area, falling to 24% for Facebook.

The poll also found that more than a third of respondents received over 20 emails a week from various different retailers, showing this approach retains an important status.

Some 89% of email recipients at least "occasionally" clicked through or visited the website of the retailer in question having been exposed to this material.

Turning to mobile, 72.2% of shoppers do not receive any text messages from retailers, meaning SMS is still a "largely untapped channel", according to Kantar.

Elsewhere, 73% of respondents waited for items to go on sale before buying and 60% regularly opted for own-label goods if they were cheaper than national brands

One out of five contributors utilised an online coupon when making their last purchase, and almost 60% of this group suggested they would not have made the acquisition without this voucher.

More broadly, 37% of the panel reported using vouchers "most of the time" while obtaining products via the internet.

Three-quarters of participants agreed free shipping would encourage them to buy more on the web, with free returns scoring 56.3%, faster shipping on 40.8% and in-store pick up on 39.6%.

"The proliferation of free shipping is forcing retailers to decide whether the additional orders they gain by offering free shipping will offset the initial loss of shouldering this cost," said Matt Pace, Kantar Media Compete's managing director, retail and consumer products.

Data sourced from Kantar Media Compete; additional content by Warc staff