Research Reveals How Consumers Actually Spend the Purchase Journey

April Davis By April Davis | 19 Jul 2018

HINT: It’s not actually spent actively shopping for products or choosing between brands.

A new study has revealed that consumers are researching products before they even realise they’re doing it, spending as much as 80 percent of their purchase journey in the pre-search phase.

According to a recent Condé Nast report, 79 percent of consumers make brand decisions before they start searching for products, with beauty products accounting for the most pre-search time, equating to 80 percent of the purchase journey.

According to Pamela Drucker Mann, the chief revenue and marketing officer at Condé Nast, brands have a measurable influence on how consumers spend their time and money, especially when it comes to online purchases.

“This study identified the importance of influence on consumers’ decisions – by the time they start searching for a product, they’ve already decided what to buy. There is tremendous opportunity to influence consumers pre-search that many marketers aren’t taking full advantage of,” she said.

“Leveraging the influence of brands that consumers trust when they’re thinking about what to buy can have a tremendous impact on an advertiser’s bottom line.”

Regardless of the product category, consumers reportedly spend more time in the pre-search phase than they do actively looking for, or purchasing goods.

Specifically, Condé Nast claims consumers spend 80 percent of their purchase journey being influenced by multi-channel content. Of particular interest to shoppers of this category are video, social influencers, and print advertising.

For fashion, pre-search attributes to 69 percent of the purchase journey. The biggest purchase trigger is reportedly advertisements that target their desire to buy something new, so they can have the latest styles.

Tech shoppers come in closely behind fashion, with 65 percent of time spent in pre-search. Outside of buying needs, Condé Nast says the biggest trigger for tech consumers is functionality issues, with ads being the most likely to influence their purchase decisions.

According to the report, most consumers have already made their mind up before they actively start searching for a product, with 59 percent of consumers only considering two brands when making a purchase. More than half of consumers also purchase products from the first brand they considered (53 percent). This figure increases to 64 percent in the among teens (13-17).

Two of the biggest factors contributing to consumers’ purchase journeys are influencer marketing, and recommendations or advertisements featured by trustworthy sources, such as fashion magazine Vogue.

A number of brands have had success using influencer marketing in the past, especially when working with prominent Instagram and YouTube influencers.

Princess Polly is an example of this, with the fast fashion retailer teaming up with young icons, like YouTube sensation, Sammy Robinson, to launch limited edition clothing ranges through its online store.

H&M’s millennial-centric brand, Nyden has also recently leveraged influencers’ fan-bases to assist with its market research and design decisions. Nyden enlisted the help of the Founder of the Blonde Collective blog, Ashley Guyatt and the Senior Editor at Refinery29, Alyssa Coscarelli to help collect consumer preferences through Instagram Stories.

The data collected by the clothing e-tailer and its recruited influencers will help the company design two dresses for its upcoming collection.

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