Most shoppers seek the opinions of others before buying

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 14, 2002

Marketers have always known that word-of-mouth is important, but how many have realised quite how important it is? A new survey reveals quite how many check with others before buying.

More than nine out of ten respondents to a survey by Goodmind, a customer-focused market research consultancy, had made a purchase in the previous twelve months based on the word of another. Three quarters had checked the opinions of someone else before making a "considered purchase" such as a computer (36%), consumer electronic appliance (24%) or car (18%).

According to Goodmind's president, Peter Mackey, "While word-of-mouth has always been a factor, the rise of the Internet coupled with ever expanding product choice is creating a class of consumers that are more and more word-of-mouth dependent. People are building and using networks for opinion exchange through email, online customer ratings, discussion groups and other methods."

Other key findings:

  • Nearly one in three think that word-of-mouth has more influence than it did three years ago. More women (35%) than men (25%) feel that its influence is increasing.
  • Some four in ten class it as "extremely/very influential" in their buying decisions. More women (42%) than men (33%) rate it so.
  • Of those who think that word-of-mouth's influence is increasing, almost half claim to use online ratings and opinions, but only 12% claim that online ratings are the most important source of word-of-mouth.

A random sample of 1,000 American households was surveyed, followed by a qualitative discussion among 30 individual shoppers using Goodmind's ThoughtCast online research technology.  Additional results and implications are available as a white paper or by personal presentation.

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