New Study Reveals Impact of Social Tools, Evolving Search Patterns and Mobile Technology on Consumer Shopping Behavior

Analysis by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group Looks at How Consumers Research, Select and Purchase Goods Online

San Francisco, California, UNITED STATES

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 15, 2011) - PowerReviews and the e-tailing group today released the 2011 Social Shopping Study, which looks at how consumers research, select and purchase goods online. The findings of this year's survey indicate that today's consumers are incredibly sophisticated shoppers who dedicate a significant amount of time to researching products prior to purchase, and employ a variety of tools in order to find the best prices. There is also ample evidence that as Facebook become more and more ingrained in the day-to-day lives of consumers, there is tremendous potential for brands and retailers to leverage the site as a means for driving engagement.

The 2011 study is based on a survey of more than 1,000 consumers about their online shopping habits, as well as their level of engagement with brands and retailers across various online channels. Special attention is given to the role of research in the online shopping process, and which media -- including product reviews and ratings, Facebook and retail communities -- wield the most influence on the decision to buy.

Among the key findings are:

Research is extremely important in the purchase process.

  • Seventy percent of people take a day or longer to research purchases, and the same amount say that research takes up 75 percent or more of their online shopping time;
  • Most consumers start their research with a search engine or major retailer's site;
  • Customer reviews have the biggest impact on the decision to buy: 90 percent of people said reviews have an impact on their decision; 60 percent say they're the most important factor. is the defacto site for product reviews and price checking.

  • Sixty percent of respondents saying they go there first to check prices and look at reviews, and 85 percent saying that the site is a factor in their research.

Facebook and social media are starting to play a bigger role in people's shopping habits, but there's still significant room for growth.

  • Only one-third of consumers use social media for research;
  • While half of respondents have "liked" a brand or product, only a quarter have done so from a retailer's page;
  • A large majority say they connect with brands or retailers on Facebook only to get deals.

Mobile usage relative to shopping is mostly centered on competitive pricing.

  • One-third of consumers have used their mobile phones from inside a physical store to access promotional coupons, research competitive pricing and check product ratings and reviews;
  • Consumers are also becoming more comfortable using the scan functionality on their mobile phones, with approximately one-third of respondents using QR or bar codes to get product information or compare prices.

"This study proves just how much people value each other's opinions about products and services, and how much influence those opinions hold over how people shop and what they buy," said PowerReviews CEO Pehr Luedtke. "Additionally, there remains a significant opportunity for retailers and brands to leverage Facebook as a platform for connecting with customers in order to build engagement and drive sales."

"It is interesting to see the evolution of the consumer who can now access information across various channels," said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group. "They are hungry to find the right information about products they are researching and are willing to spend significant time to take advantage of user-generated content and most importantly to be rewarded by purchasing it at the price they want to pay."

PowerReviews helps to power the websites of leading brands and retailers, giving their customers access to detailed product reviews, ratings and information. The company's focus is on social commerce solutions that drive sales and grow customer relationships.

To download a copy of the study, click here.

About PowerReviews
PowerReviews is the leading provider of social commerce software-as-a-service solutions to global retailers and brands. The company's unique structured data approach to collecting, organizing, and analyzing user-generated content significantly boosts product sales and customer engagement. PowerReviews is live on over 5,000 websites -- across 13 languages in 21 countries -- including Staples,, Room & Board, ESPN, Neutrogena, Quicksilver, and Jockey.

About the e-tailing group
The e-tailing group is a niche e-commerce consultancy that helps merchants deliver the right customer experience on their websites and across all of their channels while adeptly assisting technology companies to create and execute go-to-market strategies that simultaneously educate the retail community and deliver cost-effective thought leadership and lead generation. For more background about our research or for additional information on the e-tailing group, inc. please contact Lauren Freedman via email at, by phone to 773-975-7280 or visit the e-tailing group website

Contact Information:

Media Contact:
Lindsey Scott or Corey Lewis
power (at) launchsquad (dot) com