Gadget Shoppers Search Online, Buy Offline - InformationWeek

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Gadget Shoppers Search Online, Buy Offline

The vast majority of consumers who search online for electronics and computers end up buying the products offline.

The vast majority of consumers who search online for electronics and computers end up buying the products offline, with 4 out of 10 waiting longer than five weeks to make the purchase, a study released Monday showed.

The study conducted by ComScore Networks and sponsored by Overture Services Inc. found that 25 percent of the searches initiated on the top 25 search engines ended up with purchases, but that 92 percent of them occurring offline.

Of the 8 percent of the searches that led to buying a consumer electronic or computer online, most of those purchases occurred in subsequent user sessions, not during the initial search, ComScore said.

"The average consumer searches four times in this product category, with actual purchasers searching three times more " 12 or 13 times on average," ComScore analyst Graham Mudd said. "It's not an impulse buy."

Searches for consumer electronics, such as DVD players, TVs and digital cameras, were most likely to result in an offline purchase than searches for desktop and laptop computers, the research firm said.

Only 15 percent of purchases occurred during the same session as the search, with 85 percent of the consumers buying the products later. Nearly 40 percent of the purchases occurred from five to 12 weeks after the initial search, with the rest occurring within five weeks.

In addition, Comscore found that generic product search terms, such as camera or plasma television, accounted for 70 percent of the total search volume, while trademarked retailer terms, such as Best Buy or Circuit City, accounted for 20 percent The remainder were specific product terms, such as Canon digital camcorder or HP (Hewlett-Packard) notebook.

ComScore, based in Reston, Va., used a combination of online behavioral observation and consumer survey data, which was gathered in the first quarter of the year. Overture is a wholly owned subsidiary of giant web portal Yahoo Inc.

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