The Internet plays an important role in how people conduct research for purchases, but it is just one among a variety of sources people use and usually not the key factor in final purchasing decisions. A new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project tracks the decision-making processes for buying music, purchasing a cell phone, and buying or renting a home. Here are the top three sources used in product research for each of the three products.
For those who have bought music in the prior year:
Among those who have purchased a cell phone in the prior year:
For those who have rented or bought new housing in the prior year:
Even though many buyers use the Internet in product research, relatively few say online information had a major impact on the product choice they eventually made. Only 7 percent of music buyers, 10 percent of cell phone buyers, and 11 percent of those who bought or rented a home in the prior year say that online information had a major impact on their decision.