February 11, 2003, 12:00 AM

The days of web surfing may be near an end, says new survey

Internet shoppers are following patterns that reflect traditional shopping experiences, Valentine Radford Inc. reports. “People have destinations on the web that they go to and are probably bookmarking the sites they like,” says CEO Chuck Curtis.

 

Internet shoppers are falling into patterns that reflect traditional shopping experiences, marketing company Valentine Radford Inc. reports. The latest data from Valentine Radford’s quarterly iCustomer Observer survey of 5,000 consumers reports that the percentage of consumers who go online very often to conduct product research fell to 35% last August from 42% in August 2000, while the percent who do so often fell from 37% to 32%. Similarly, those who search the web for price information very often fell to 25% last August from 42% two years earlier while those who search for pricing information often fell to 35% from 37%.

“In 2000, people were still playing with the Internet and exploring,” Chuck Curtis, chairman and CEO, tells InternetRetailer.com. “This probably says the surfing phase is over. People have destinations on the web that they go to and are probably bookmarking the sites they like.”

The implications for online retailers is that they will have a tough time dislodging customers from established patterns, Curtis says. “People who got in early before the patterns were set will benefit,” Curtis says. “It’s going to be tougher for retailers who want to change those patterns.”

Further indication that consumers are familiar enough with the web today to rely on their own shopping patterns rather than on cruising the web for information comes from an iCustomer Observer question about how often consumers search for product by brand name. The percent who search by brand very often fell to 11% from 25% two years earlier while those who do so often fell to 28% from 30%.

 

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