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Holiday shoppers sought out online reviews: Nielsen


January 5, 2009
By Nielsen.com

Jan. 5, 2009 – Nielsen Online, a service of the Nielsen Company,
announced that 81 per cent of online shoppers have read product or
retailer reviews by other customers when they did their holiday
shopping this Christmas.

Nielsen Online, a service of the Nielsen Company, announced that 81 per
cent of online shoppers have read product or retailer reviews by other
customers when they did their holiday shopping this Christmas. Customer reviews are an important research tool for online consumers, with 71 per cent agreeing that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product. When evaluating this customer feedback, 63 per cent of online shoppers indicated that it was important to have multiple reviews for each product; 14 per cent looked for reviews from an established source; and just three per cent sought out reviews by people they knew personally (see Table 1).

These results are from a Nielsen Online holiday survey intended to understand the mindset of the U.S. online shopper. The online survey was fielded from December 8 -15 among approximately 1,000 online shoppers in the U.S. who did holiday shopping online last year and/or planned to do so this year.

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“Consumer reviews are a must-have for online retailers, especially during the holiday season when shoppers are buying for others in categories they’re less familiar with,” said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry insights, Nielsen Online. “Perhaps more than any other time of year, consumers are looking for outside feedback for guidance.”

Table 1: Factors in Evaluating Customer Reviews
Factor
 % of Respondents
 The product has multiple ratings or reviews
63
 The rating or review comes from an established source
14
 The rating or review comes from someone I know
 3
 Other  2
 Source: Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, Dec. 2008


ONLINE SPENDING

Nearly one-fourth, 24 percent, of online shoppers have spent more than $500 so far this holiday season, with 22 per cent spending between $100-199 online (see Table 2). The 24/7 shopping convenience of the Web was the reason cited most frequently by respondents (78 per cent) for  shopping online.



Table 2: Money Already Spent Online this Holiday (mid-December)

Amount
 % of Respondents
 Less than $100
 18
 $100-199  22
 $200-299  17
 $30-399  13
 $400-499  5
 More than $500
 24
 Source: Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, Dec. 2008



MULTI-CHANNEL ADVANTAGE

More than half of respondents, 55 per cent, indicated that they logged onto the Web site of a local brick and mortar retailer before visiting the physical store. The primary reason for going online first was comparing prices between retailers, followed by checking if an item was in stock and looking for sales in stores (see Table 3).

“With strong sales growth online in recent years, online sales have become the sole focus in assessing Web retailers’ holiday season success,” said Cassar. “This year, however, retailers should consider the online contribution to store sales, in addition to online sales, when evaluating how well the season went.”

Table 3: Top 5 Reasons to Visit Retailer Web Site before Visiting Store

 Reason
 % of Respondents
 Wanted to compare prices between different retailers whose stores I might shop
33
 Wanted to see if the product I was looking for was in stock
 28
 Wanted to find sales in the store
 26
 Wanted to come up with holiday gift ideas before I went shopping
 22
 I ordered online for in-store pickup
 12
 Source: Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, Dec. 2008

 

DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR RETAIL WEB SITE

The most popular reason to shop at a particular online retailer was having made a purchase there in the past, with 62 per cent of respondents. Search engines were the second most popular way to find  an online retailer, followed by offline catalogs, with 38 and 31 per cent of respondents, respectively (see Table 4). These results underscore the importance to consumers of solid, longstanding relationships with retailers they trust.


Table 4: Top 5 Reasons to Shop at a Particular Web Site

Reason
% of Respondents
 I went to the retailer I have purchased from in the past
 62
 I found the retailer through search engines
 38
 I received a catalog in the mail from the retailer
 31
 I came across an e-mail promotion from the retailer
 25
 I subscribe to e-newsletters from retailers
 25
 Source: Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, Dec. 2008


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