March 6, 2007, 12:00 AM

50% of broadband users say the Internet influenced a recent purchase

A new study of broadband users confirms the central role the Internet plays in consumers’ purchasing decisions. 50% of broadband users in the U.S. say the Internet influenced a recent purchase, more than were influenced by TV, according to Netpop/Shop.

Online consumers who connect to the Internet via broadband are turning more to the Internet for product information than traditional advertising media, says Netpop/Shop, a study from Media-Screen, a market research firm specializing in online consumer trends.

50% of broadband users in the U.S. say the Internet influenced a recent purchase, according to the study. 36% were influenced by online shopping sites and 15% by search engines. That compares with 11% for television commercials and 6% for magazine advertisements.

In addition, 9% said user-generated content such as consumer reviews and blogs influenced a purchase decision. Shoppers spend an average 3.8 hours researching online purchases.

“Online sources are eclipsing traditional media and advertising channels, like radio and television,” says Cate Riegner, director of research. “Retailers need to recognize this trend and adjust their marketing and advertising strategies accordingly.”

Consumers surveyed also said they spend 12% of their time online researching products, comparing pricing and making purchases. That compares with spending 27% of their online time on communications (e-mail, posting reviews, blogs, photo-sharing, IM, etc.); 27% on leisure and entertainment (online games, downloading and listening to music, video clips, etc.); 19% on news and information (search, weather, movie show times, bus schedules, etc.); and 16% on personal productivity (online banking, investments, calendars, storing personal files, etc.)

Netpop/Shop tracks the purchasing behaviors of 1,397 broadband users ages 13 years and older in the U.S.

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