Study: Small Items Lead Online Sales

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Consumers are more apt to buy small items such as books, compact discs and computer software than durable goods items, according to a study by Aegis Communications Group, Chicago.


The study, which was conducted by Aegis' Elrick & Lavidge Marketing Research division, Atlanta, examined consumer behavior in 20 different categories of goods sold on the Internet, and found that books, music, software, and travel and computer items represented more than half -- 52 percent -- of the merchandise purchased online. Web sites that sell durable goods such as cars, home decor and computer hardware are more likely to be used for research before consumers make offline purchases.


"While consumers are not actually making their final purchases online in these categories, they find the Web sites immensely useful," said Dr. Ilene Lanin-Kettering, senior vice president at Elrick & Lavidge. "A vast majority of consumers who browsed online before making a purchase through traditional channels said that browsing online was very or generally helpful to them in making their final purchase decision. It is an information-laden vehicle which creates a more informed consumer when actually going to a traditional store to fulfill."


Online browsing leads to an offline purchase 61 percent of the time, and 35 percent of those who make purchases offline buy from the traditional channel of the Web site they had looked at for the information, Kettering said.


The study, Re-Tailing: Changing the Shopping Channel, found more than 25 percent of shoppers expect to purchase goods online over the next year. Most of those are already online, but 12 percent of those who do not shop online said they planned to make an online purchase.
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