January 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

Search leads, but Facebook gains as a shopping tool

Consumers often find products through search engines, but Facebook gains ground among younger demographics.

When it comes to finding products to buy online, Internet search is cited by the largest number of U.S. consumers, 52%, as being among their most common methods, according to a report from Art Technology Group Inc., a provider of e-commerce technology and services. But social networking sites—and in particular, Facebook—are gaining ground among younger adults, the report adds. For consumers 18 to 34, Internet search is cited as a common shopping tool by 47%. Meanwhile, 17% of consumers in that age group cite social networking sites, a choice of only 8% of all consumers. The study—commissioned by ATG and based on a July 2010 survey of 1,002 U.S. consumers age 18 and over by online research firm MarketTools—also found that 29% of consumers in the 18-34 age group say they have already discovered a product or service through a social network, notably Facebook. That percentage drops to 14.5% for all consumers in the study, ATG says.

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