Consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers who increase their online marketing efforts are likely to more effectively engage affluent customers, particularly women, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for digital marketing agency iCrossing.
The study, entitled How America Searches: Consumer Packaged Goods, was conducted to gain insights into the habits of adult consumers in the US when using the internet to find out about CPGs, concentrating on how and the degree to which they search, the types of web sites they visit, the factors driving them to search for CPGs online, and their attitudes toward buying products online and offline.
Among the study's main findings:
- Consumers are increasingly looking for CPGs online
In terms of the frequency of search activity among online adults in the US, 39% confirmed they have performed a search for CPGs online. This puts CPGs in the same kind of territory as real estate and financial products and services.
- Women search more for CPGs online
Women were more likely than men to search online for 7 out of the 11 CPG product categories presented to survey respondents. Footwear and apparel was the most popular CPG category among both male and female online searchers.
- Online CPG searches drive offline sales
Research into special offers and looking for coupons that can be used in stores were the most frequently cited reasons for searching for CPGs (60% and 52% respectively). Furthermore, approximately two-thirds of those who search online for nearly all types of CPGs indicated they would buy the product either online or offline.
- Web site preferences generate opportunities
CPG searchers make nearly equal use of search engines (67%), retailer web sites (61%) and product or company web sites (61%) to search for CPGs online. Only 26% go to shopping comparison sites, and 19% go to product ratings sites for CPG information.
According to iCrossing, effective CPG marketing requires attention to multiple online channels. For example, the company suggests, CPG marketers should consider increasing their use of online and search engine marketing, targeting leading search engines, retailer web sites, and brand and product web sites.
Such channels represent opportunities for engaging affluent and female consumers, and for reinforcing key brand attributes around the three main consumer interests identified by the survey (finding offers, locating information, and conducting commerce).