We’ve seen before the influence of online on purchase decisions in the US, with research showing that 25 million US consumers make purchase decisions based on social media. At the time I said that it would be great to see how these figures translated to Europe, and new research lets us do just that. The EIAA Mediascope Europe 2008 study looks at online habits across Europe and then explores the influence of online on decision making. The study was conducted with 9,095 respondents across UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in September 2008. A presentation of the findings is here.
First some basic facts about online habits of Europeans. Of the 297 million Europeans, some 60% (178 million) are online, and a majority of these (80%) are now using broadband to access the Internet. Over half of those people online now access the internet every single day (including weekends) and the time spent online has increased to 12 hours a week. More people are spending more time and doing more things online. No surprises there.
Growth is greeted among 25-34 year olds. Here almost two-thirds (63%) are online daily, and they spend an average of almost 14 hours a week online. For them the Internet is very much a lifestyle tool – shown by the increased access from home and during the weekends, rather than just at work. Almost half of this age-range have used social networks to keep in touch with friends and one in four have their own up-to-date profile on a social network. This now makes social networking the fourth most popular activity to do online (after email, news and banking).
So what of the influence of online? Well the research shows that 64% of European internet users consider personal recommendations from other users to be important when researching a product or service.
When researching or considering a product or service, 46% of European internet users are influenced by reviews, ratings and discussions from other users. This means that there are some 82 million consumers across Europe are influenced by the reviews, ratings and discussions they read from other consumers in social media.
This research backs up what we have seen in the US. In Europe we know that 82 million consumers (about 27% of all consumers) consider the reviews and ratings they see in social media. The US data allows us to go further. There a similar proportion consider reviews and ratings online and about a third of these would go as far as to say that their purchase decision has been directly influenced by social media. If we saw the same proportion then some 27 million European consumers would directly change their purchase decisions based on what they read in social media.
Whatever the actual numbers are and however we cut them, a few things are clear. Social media is important. What other consumers say online is important. And how we engage people in social networks and online communities can have a real difference on our brand’s sales.
Some more reading
- Web is driven by 25-34 age group
- Russia Is Rising In Internet Population
- How to Use Social Media to Get Hired
- For the Future of Marketing, Look to Social Media
- Social Networking: Making the Most Out of Social Networking Websites
- Web is driven by 25-34 age group
- Consumers spend 12 hours a week online, finds EIAA research
- Research about digital Europe
- EIAA „Mediascope Europe 2008″: Für die „Generation Online” der 25- bis 34-jährigen Deutschen ist das Internet Leitmedium