Online shows influence over consumer buying decisions

More than 50% of consumers now prefer using the Internet to other media when researching car insurance, loans and travel products, but are not aware of the online brands, according to new research.

Direct and digital response media agency Equi=Media's second bi-annual E-Commerce Media Monitor Analysis (EMMA) survey examines channel preferences at each stage of the purchasing process -- searching, quoting and buying. The survey is carried out over the phone and face-to-face.

The growing preference for the Internet for searching is matched by a 30% decrease in preference for the high street as the channel for searching.

For obtaining quotes and buying, the Internet is still less popular than the high street and the phone, but preference for the latter two has decreased by 8%.

Equi=Media warned that consumers using the Internet are "increasingly indiscriminate" about brands and are more interested in ease, speed and convenience.

Nearly 30% of consumers don't remember the providers they received quotes from when online, up from 19%.

Andrew Burgess, managing director of Equi=Media said: "This increasingly indiscriminate approach when using the web to search for, obtain quotes for, and make a purchase for travel and financial products indicates an ongoing decline in the ability of brands to achieve cut-through and drive direct response online.

"Brands must embrace the changing behaviour of consumers on the Internet and improve their techniques to raise brand awareness online."

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