Online Product Research

The commercial use of the internet by American adults has grown since the mid-2000s, with 58% of Americans now reporting that they perform online research concerning the products and services that they are considering purchasing. That is an increase from 49% who said they conducted product or service research online in 2004.

Morever, the number of those who do research about products on any given day has jumped from 15% of adults in September 2007 to 21% in September 2010. From February 2004, the number of adults conducting research on any given day has more than doubled, up from 9%.

Additionally, 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy, indicating a willingness to share their opinions about products and the buying experience with others.“Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers,” said Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and author of a new report about online product research. “Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the internet.”

Read the full report, Online Product Research on the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project Web site.

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