Most Americans research products and services online before buying

A majority – 58 percent – of Americans now say they go online to learn more about the products and services they are considering buying according to a new report about online product research by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

In addition, the number of adults who research new products or services on any given day has jumped from 15% of adults in September 2007 to 21% in September 2010.

The study also found that better educated and higher income Americans perform more online product research than those in the lower brackets. Some 87% of online college graduates and 88% of those earning $75,000+ use the internet to do research on product or services.

Interestingly many are also commenting on the goods and services they have bought. One in four (24%) American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy, indicating a willingness to share their opinions about products and the buying experience with others.

“Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers,” said Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center and author of the report.“Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the internet.”

These new statistics track with other Pew Internet Project data about increases in e-commerce. For instance, the percentage of Americans purchasing products online rose from 36% in May 2000 to 52% in the Project’s May 2010 survey. And the percentage making travel reservations or bought travel services such airline tickets, hotel rooms, or rental cars rose from 22% in May 2000 to 52% in the Project’s May 2010 survey.

These findings come from a survey conducted between August 9 and September 13, 2010. The survey was administered to a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older, using a combination of landline and cellular telephones.

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