Are you someone who researches all about gadgets many times over before ending up buying it? According to the latest tech shopper report conducted by Nielsen for Google India, seven out of 10 buyers in India of tech products know the exact brand and model they intend to buy before they enter a store.

The Internet influences the behaviour of buyers across all types of cities and towns. 40 percent respondents said that they took the help of online information for making purchase decisions about technology products. Easy access to information on the Internet has given rise to the 'research online, buy offline' behaviour in consumers.

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The study that followed the buying behaviour of 3,677 shoppers for technology and consumer electronic products points out that this trend is found to be highest in tier I and II cities in the country. Over 83 percent of the respondents surfed the web before parting with their money to buy a gadget, a trend that is fast replacing the influence of traditional media to make such decisions. The Internet is now second only to the television for creating awareness for tech products.

Interestingly, the study also revealed the growing importance of the role of mobile Internet in researching consumer products. 46 percent respondents said that they used mobile Internet for research. 22 percent of tier II consumers used the mobile phone as the sole device for accessing the Internet for research.

Internet as a medium has gone mainstream and not only does it help in creating awareness and consideration but it is substantially impacting decisions of final purchases, which was traditionally the role of point of sale and in-store sales people,” points out Ranjan Anandan, VP & Managing Director Sales & Operations Google India, “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.”

The price range too plays an important role in online research, according to the report. The higher the price of the product, the higher is the intensity of the research before its purchase. The intensity of research for buying mobile phones increased when their prices exceeded Rs 7,000. When the price tags of laptops and televisions exceeded Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 respectively, prospective buyers researched them more intensely.

Laptops at 54 percent emerged as the most searched product category followed by mobile phones, digital cameras and televisions. The report also shows how cautious India is while investing hard earned money into a product with the average duration of research being around two weeks.

Online research also helps to make one’s mind up about selecting a product. While most respondents said that they became aware of newer products during the process, over 57 percent of them changed their minds about the brand and model they wanted to buy. Besides looking up prices, Indians also look up specifications, read product reviews, watch videos and feel the need to locate stores to purchase products.

Shedding light on possibly the most important trend, the research shows that Indians prefer making purchases in-store despite researching online, to get the look and feel of a product. Also, predictably checking for deals and discounts, negotiating the price and guarantees were pointed out as some reasons why Indians took their purchases offline.

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