Most of those who buy technology products, research on the products online before buying it from the store. And while more than half such buyers change their mind during and after online research, they know exactly what they want to buy when they enter the store.
This is revealed by a pan India offline study conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Google India, to understand the influence of internet on technology product purchase by buyers in the stores.
The report says internet influences buyers' behavior across cities and towns with 40% respondents taking help of online information before buying technology products. Seven of every 10 know the brand and model they want to buy. This was specially true for tier I and tier II cities where 83% respondents said they know the brand they want to buy when they go to the store.
But, why do buyers visit stores to purchase a product? Because they want to get the ‘look & feel’ of the product, check if there are any deals available, negotiate for price, get details on guarantee, get more information on the selected model and some installation advice.
As per the study, internet is second only to television in creating awareness for technology products in metros, tier I cities. Nearly half the respondents (46%) said they used mobile internet for research and 22% in tier II used mobile as the sole device for accessing internet.
Rajan Anandan, VP & MD - sales & operations at Google India said, “This study brings to light two important facts. First, internet as a medium has gone mainstream and not only does it help in creating awareness but it is substantially impacting final purchase decisions, which was traditionally the role of sales people. The retailers’ ability to influence a buyer's mind is diminishing and companies need to look at engaging buyers online about their products and offerings. Secondly, the internet is impacting decisions in tier II cities as well and mobiles are emerging as a strong medium.”
While the technology vertical is one of the early adopters of digital advertising, there is tremendous scope for players to fully leverage this medium to engage buyers online including mobile, which is growing faster than the PCs, Anandan added.
The study also showed that the intensity of research was higher for high value products. In the mobile phones, the research intensity increased when price exceeded Rs 7,000, for laptops when the price exceeded Rs 30,000 - 40,000 and for televisions when it exceeded Rs 30,000.
The average duration of online research in this price range is said to be 2 weeks and the respondents came to know of new products and brands during online research. Over 57% respondents change their mind about the brand/model when they look for information online. While researching online, buyers look for product prices, surf for product pictures, read on specifications, watch videos, read product reviews, locate stores (67%) and visit product comparison sites.
Among high value purchases laptops emerged as the most searched category (54%), followed by mobile phones (39%), digital cameras (38%) and televisions (33%).
Google also looked into the search queries for the technology and consumer electronics products in the past year, to benchmark the offline behaviour with online trends. On Google search the overall query volume coming from desktop, which is the largest category by volume after travel was growing at over 31% year-on-year. The volumes from mobiles phones were growing 3 times faster than desktop at 86%. Growth rates of search query volumes by products coming from desktop and mobile phones, tablets were the fastest growing product (160% year-on-year). This was followed by televisions (51%), mobile phones (41%), laptops at (39%) and digital cameras at (29%).
The study was conducted across 12 cities in India covering top 4 metros (Mumbai, NCR, Chennai, Kolkata), 4 tier I cities (Chandigarh, Pune, Indore, Coimbatore) and 4 tier II cities (Kanpur, Vadodara, Kochi, Bhubaneshwar), to understand the buying behavior of shoppers for technology and consumer electronic products. 3,677 respondents were interviewed outside 200 multi- and single-brand stores across these cities. Over 92% respondents were in the age group of 18 to 44.