Report: What Influences Consumer Purchases?

We just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, What Influences Consumer Purchases?

This study shows that social media has gained ground since last year, but is still not a top influencer. We surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers to find out what information sources they use to purchase autos, cell phones, computers, credit cards, health plans, insurance policies, and televisions. The analysis looks at sources such as Facebook and Twitter, discussions with friends and employees, discussions with company employees, and information on various websites. Our analysis examines differences across age groups and analyzes changes over the last year.

Download report for $195

We start the analysis by examining the degree to which social sources—Facebook and Twitter, ratings and reviews websites, and discussions with friends and family— are influencing purchase decisions. The online social media sources remain relatively low on the list, but Facebook and Twitter gaining ground (as you can see below in figure 2 from the report).

The data is rich with insights into how consumers of all ages make purchase decisions. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Autos: More than two-thirds of consumers rely on their discussions with employees at the dealership. While this source is one of the top two across age groups, it’s particularly important for consumers who are 45 and older.
  • Cell phones: Last year as well as this year, interactions with employees are at the top of the list. This is becoming even more important for consumers younger than 35.
  • Computers: Across all age groups, consumers rely more on discussions with store employees than on information from Facebook or Twitter users.
  • Credit cards: On average, respondents use information on the credit card website more than they use any other source.
  • Health plans: Across all age groups, the most used source of information is either discussions with health plan employees or information on the health plan websites.
  • Insurance policies: Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said that discussing options with insurance agents is helpful. Agents are particularly influential for consumers who are 25 and older.
  • Televisions: Fifty-six percent of respondents said that reviews and ratings on sites other than the retailer’s or the manufacturer’s are helpful. This is the most useful information source for consumers who are younger than 45.

This data snapshot contains the following 15 charts:

  1. Social Influences on Purchases
  2. Social Influences on Purchases, Changes Since 2011
  3. Information Influences on Computer Purchases
  4. Computer Purchases, Changes from 2011 to 2012
  5. Information Influences on Cell Phone Purchases
  6. Cell Phone Purchases, Changes from 2011 to 2012
  7. Information Influences on Credit Card Decisions
  8. Credit Card Decisions, Changes from 2011 to 2012
  9. Information Influences on Insurance Purchases
  10. Insurance Purchases, Changes from 2011 to 2012
  11. Information Influences on Television Purchases
  12. Television Purchases, Changes from 2011 to 2012
  13. Information Influences on Health Plan Selections
  14. Health Plan Selections, Changes from 2011 to 2012
  15. Information Influences on Automobile Purchases

Download report for $195

The bottom line: Social media is not yet a key input to purchase decisions

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 Responses to Report: What Influences Consumer Purchases?

  1. I’d be very interested to know the extent to which ‘discussions with (store) employees’ on tech products also included an element of ‘touch and feel the product’ which of course is a unique feature of in-store. Is it the human element (can this be done remotely) or is it the physical element?

    • Bruce Temkin says:

      Hi Martin: We did not look at that aspect of the experience, although it’s a very good one for us to add next year. For computer purchases, we examined the following elements: Information on the computer manufacturer’s website, Information on the retailer’s website, Reviews and ratings you read at different websites, Discussions with friends and family about the purchase, Discussion with employees at the retail store, Comments that you read on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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