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Consumers Purchasing Products Electronically for Convenience
Jun 9, 2005
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American consumers opt for convenience when shopping and turn to electronic retailing to get the job done, according to the Electronic Retailing Association's (ERA) Buyer Study. Conducted in March 2005 by Phoenix-based Ellison Research, the survey measured consumer shopping habits and preferences in four distinct direct response channels: radio, TV infomercials, home shopping, and the internet and, among other findings, found that electronic retailing give consumers the ability to research and become informed about a product before purchasing. Thus, they are more inclined to use such outlets for repeat shopping.

The electronic retailing industry experienced an eight percent growth rate in 2004 and grossed over U.S. $296 billion. The growth of the industry, and the results of this study, further dispels any notion that only late night insomniacs purchase through direct response outlets. On average, consumers who purchase through electronic channels have a medium income more than $57,000 and more than 50 percent are college educated.

Based on the research, consumers indicated that shopping directly from home made it easier to make purchases and avoid the pressure sometimes unnecessarily placed by salespeople. Further findings showed that among those surveyed, almost 60 percent of online and TV shoppers will "definitely" purchase through this vehicle in the future, indicating their positive experience enticed shoppers to return for further purchases.

"The study has become a valuable tool for the ERA's more than 350 member companies to benchmark consumer patterns, analyze industry trends and determine how our industry can better serve America's consumers," said Barbara Tulipane, ERA president and CEO. "Our research determines that overall, consumers are happy with their electronic shopping experience and this is vital to ensure their repeat business."

Key research findings include: average number of purchases among online buyers rose substantially since 2004, from 8.5 to 12.0 per person; 86 percent of online purchases were planned and researched; three out of four buyers had seen a product promoted on average three times before buying it; 9 out of 10 online buyers said they made multiple visits to the same web site before buying the product; 2/3 of TV shoppers had bought from the same company before their most recent purchase; and, there is a 70 percent likelihood of multiple channel purchases, meaning shoppers purchase from one or more electronic mediums. For example, 7 out of 10 radio buyers, TV shopping buyers, and TV infomercial buyers have bought through more than one channel.

Over the past three years, research has shown an annual increase in each of the direct response outlets, concluding that direct response retailing is a viable, useful, and convenient retailing opportunity.

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