Fleishman-Hillard Inc. and Harris Interactive have published an excellent white paper which examines how the internet influences the modern consumer.
The study is titled “Digital Life Index Study” and highlights how the internet influences shopping behaviours, making particular comparisons between the UK, Germany and France.
4 key insights of the study were:-
The Internet is by far the most important medium in the lives of European consumers — but companies are underinvesting in that influence.
Behavioural Framework: Consumer use of the Internet falls into five distinct classes of behaviours.
Research, Communication, Commerce are the 3 more established behaviours.
In the expanding web 2.0 environment Consumer Generated Content is rapidly rising in importance.
The 5th behaviour is consuming Internet content on Mobile devices.
Smart marketers will clearly understand the mix of behaviours that is most critical to their business — and formulate integrated campaigns to address that mix.
Consumers use the Internet in different ways to make different decisions.
The differences are driven by the impact of the decision on their lives and the range of available choices. e.g. Buying commoditised items like airline tickets are made with less consultation with online consumers than choices that have higher personal impact such as healthcare, or major electronic purchases.
Consumers see the clear benefits of the Internet to their lives, but they still have strong concerns that need to be addressed.
Clearly consumers recognise the value of the internet as a medium, but are also voicing concerns over internet safety.