Study: Most Consumers Research Online, Then Buy in Store

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Nearly 75 percent of respondents to a survey released yesterday by BIGresearch said they regularly or occasionally go online to research before making an in-store purchase.

As a result, retailers who don't integrate in-store marketing with online initiatives risk losing incremental sales opportunities, according to BIGresearch, Columbus, OH.

"Retailers have focused on their in-store experience, but for many consumers online research is replacing the store as a way of gathering information on products and pricing before purchasing at the store level," Joe Pilotta of BIGresearch said.

More than 7,300 consumers participated in the February Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, which queried them about nine categories: apparel, auto, electronics, financial services, food, household cleaning products, housing, shoes and travel. Other key findings:

· 79.8 percent of men said they research electronics before buying in-store.

· 70.8 percent of women research travel online.

· Housing has the youngest average age, 40.3 years, for those who research online. Travel has the oldest average age of online researchers at 44.1.

· For income groups, the top categories researched online before purchasing are: less than $15,000 (food), $25,000-$34,999 (electronics), $50,000-$74,999 (housing) and $100,000+ (financial services).

· African-Americans research shoes online more than any other category. Hispanics research apparel online more than any other category. Whites research travel online more than any other category.

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