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Study: What drives online consumer technology purchases?


What kinds of searches, ads and content are consumers interacting with before and after a tech purchase?

Purch, a digital content and commerce company, and comScore examined more than 3,000 qualifying purchases during a 90-day period to track key influences and behaviors of U.S consumers before, during and after a technology purchase. Purchases tracked include popular products such as mobile devices, tablets and wearables from top online retailers and brands.

Generally speaking, findings point to inefficiencies in ad delivery and consumer focus on tech reviews and content both ahead of and after making a purchase. The majority (52%) of relevant ad impressions took place after the consumer had already made a purchase. According to study authors, this indicates significant opportunity to place the right ads at the right phase in the consumer journey.

On the content side, tech media sites are the most widely consumed content throughout the purchase journey (pre- and post-purchase), pointing to trust in product reviews and testing by neutral parties that relay accessible information. Tech media site consumption is followed by multi-category retailer and tech retailer sites.

On tech media sites, buyers read 80% more reviews/buying guide pages than news pages. Both reviews and news article readership were split fairly evenly by platform, with 53% of page views on PCs and 47% of pages viewed on mobile devices.

As consumers move into the final phases of their research and look to complete purchases, they shift their search behavior to retailers' sites. The majority of their searches (67%) took place on retail sites rather than search engines on the day of purchase.

Men dominate tech forums and women consume a slight majority of tech how-to pages, but the genders are split evenly when it comes to time spent on reviews/buying guides, indicating that reviews play an equal role in both genders' decision making processes.

Looking at generational trends, Gen X consumers (age 35-54) accounted for 45% of the tech purchases in this research. Millennials (age 18-34) however, spent an average of 8% more per purchase than older consumers.

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