Pre-Purchase Research in Key Categories and Demographics

Which categories do shoppers research online before making a purchase?

Data Headlines

  • More than three in ten (64%) shoppers research apparel and accessories online before buying them
  • Almost one in two (49%) shoppers go online to research entertainment products and services
  • Shoppers also go online to research consumer electronics (44%) and other consumer goods (42%)

Shoppers are most likely to research apparel and accessories before buying. Almost two-third (64%) of shoppers go online to research clothes and clothing accessories.

It is not surprising to see apparel and accessories are the most researched category. It’s also the leading category for ‘window shopping’ in the offline space. Online research involves replicating offline window shopping behaviour in the digital space. Shoppers look for latest trends, price points, and discounts among other information.

Shoppers looking to buy entertainment products and services also conduct online research. Almost one in two (49%) shoppers look up information on entertainment products and services. Entertainment products and services include movies, music, amusement parks, nightlife, restaurants. They also include online streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Netflix and Hulu.

Word of mouth is a key research touch point for entertainment services among consumers. Consumers rely on recommendations to decide which movie to watch or restaurant to visit. These conversations can now also happen on mobile messengers with friends. Or with strangers on online forums like Yelp. Or with experts on websites like Rotten Tomatoes.

Digital is adding a new touch point to the entertainment shopper’s pre-purchase research. Consumers also rely on online reviews, ratings and recommendations to discover new content.

After clothes and entertainment, shoppers are most likely to research consumer electronics. More than two in five (44%) shoppers look up information on consumer electronics.

Consumer electronics include mobile devices, laptops, TV, and audio systems among others. Shoppers go through product features in detail before buying an electronics item. Retailer and brand websites are common touch points to research consumer electronics.

How do men and women research when buying apparel and footwear?

Data Headlines

  • More than half of men and women use both online and offline touch points to research footwear (52% male, 62% female) and apparel (68% male, 75% female)
  • Women are more likely to research apparel and footwear more frequently compared to men

Women seem more tech savvy when it comes to researching footwear and apparel. Almost two in three (65%) female shoppers go online to research footwear. Compared to one in two (56%) men.

Also almost one in five (19%) women claim to research footwear online more than in-store. Around one in ten (12%) men claim the same.

The trend is similar when it comes to apparel. More than three in four (78%) women go online to research apparel. In comparison 72% men do the same. Almost one in four (23%) women claim to research apparel online more than in-store. Less than one in five (17%) men say the same.

Men are more likely to research footwear in physical stores (45%) than women (36%). In apparel, men continue to prefer in-store research (28%) compared to women (21%).

Women’s use digital more because they research the category more often than men. Only 5% of men research apparel at least once a month. Almost one in five (19%) women do the same.

Twice as many women research apparel monthly compared to men. One in five men research apparel at least once a month. More than two in five (42%) women do the same.

What do teens research online before buying clothes, shoes and accessories?

Data Headlines

  • Almost three in five (59%) teen shoppers look up fashion related online tips during pre-purchase research
  • More than half of teens read blogs (57%), share images (57%), and watch videos (57%) related to fashion.
  • Online ads, blog posts, and experts are key digital influences for teen shoppers buying apparel and accessories.

Teen online behaviour today is good way to predict how shoppers will research in the future. The apparel and accessories category is a ideal for this. It is the most researched category among shoppers across all age groups.

Teens researching clothes, shoes and accessories go online to consume a variety of information. The most accessed content is fashion tips. Almost three in five (59%) teens look up fashion tips online. Fashion tips refer to inspiration and ideas from celebrities, experts and peers.

More than half of teens (57%) also read fashion blogs and articles online. The same proportion watch online videos on styling. It shows that pre-purchase research is no longer limited to fashion conscious teens. Digital gives all teens access to useful information. The information could be how-to articles or video tutorials. More than half (57%) also share images of their favourite fashion styles. This behaviour is a great opportunity for brands to find out what teens like. As well as engage them via platforms that enable discovery and sharing.

In the short term, brands can use paid media to influence teen fashion choices. Online ads in particular remain influential. More than one in two (51%) teens say an online ad influenced their decision to buy. These ads range from simple display ads to story led video ads. With digital brands can target relevant ads to teens based on their interest.

Besides ads, brands can also influence teens via online content. More than two in five (47%) teens say online articles and blogs influence them. Another 46% say recommendations from online personalities are influential. The online blogs and articles could be from individual bloggers or fashion websites. With online personalities, the content tends to be in video format. The content ranges from tutorials to product reviews. Once again giving brands an opportunity to place themselves in the conversation.

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