BERLIN: A majority of German consumers now look online for information about brands before buying products, a study has argued.

Web giant Google estimated 40% of customers undertake research in this way prior to visiting bricks-and-mortar outlets.

During the purchase process as a whole, over 50% of netizens compare goods and manufacturers via this route, alongside 16% generally missing out physical stores altogether.

In all, the decision-making window can last between 35 and 37 days, conducting in the range of seven to nine relevant searches.

By category, 65% of shoppers turn to the net when attempting to choose financial offerings, with mobile phones in second, on 61%, fashion claiming third, logging 53%, while insurance secured 43%.

But the number of completed digital transactions concerning apparel and financial services typically fell substantially below these totals, meaning other channels need to be considered by marketers.

The report concluded that advertisers must shift perceptions beyond simply utilising the web as a direct sales tool, and increasingly take account of its offline impact.

Data sourced from Google; additonal content by Warc staff