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'Word of Mouth' biggest influence on apparel buyers - Survey
Nov '08
When it comes to buying apparel and electronics, shoppers are most interested in hearing from their peers about products, retailers and past shopping experiences. In a recent survey, conducted for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association by BIGresearch, consumers say that word of mouth is still the number one influencer in their apparel (34.3%) and electronics (44.4%) purchases.

In addition to first-hand knowledge, product reviews (36.8%) and retail advertising inserts (29.2%) – or circulars – will also resonate with consumers in their electronics purchases this holiday season. Shoppers looking for the best deal on apparel items, from new jeans to winter coats, will check out circulars (33.3%) and in-store promotions (30.4%).

“Retailers offering great deals will use many channels this holiday season to make sure their customers aren't left in the dark.” said Mike Gatti, Executive Director, Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. “If retailers can't get the word out to shoppers about their sales and promotions this holiday season, the lowest prices in the world won't bring customers into the stores.”

The study also found traditional advertising vehicles like broadcast television (25.9%), direct mail (20.0%) and emails (20.6%) still remain steady influencers for consumers' electronics purchases. Shoppers say that newspaper ads are more influential this year compared to last year (22.9% vs. 20.2% in 2007) as consumers continue to be diligent with bargain hunting.

Product placement is another huge driver in adults' purchase decisions. When it comes to electronics purchases, 13.2 percent say it influences their decisions, while 11.5 percent say it influences their apparel purchases. Blogging also influences 6.0 percent of the average population's electronics choices and 3.3 percent of their apparel purchases.

Young adults are often much harder to reach in terms of advertising and marketing campaigns. Many surf the web while watching television; some engage in other activities, such as text messaging, while reading the newspaper, and even more watch television while reading their mail. According to the survey, 45.0 percent of 18-34 year olds watch television while browsing the web, 25.8 percent engage in other activities while watching TV and 26.0 percent surf the internet while listening to the radio.

“Americans are serious multi-taskers,” said Gary Drenik, CEO, BIGresearch. “Retailers need to communicate through the right channels this holiday season to ensure shoppers hear them.”

About BIGresearch:
BIGresearch is a consumer intelligence firm providing analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive, and media. BIGresearch's syndicated Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM) is focused on consumers to gauge their consumption across media, products and services. Marketers can use SIMM to develop the types of consumer-centric marketing plans required to increase advertisers' ROI. The SIMM monitors more than 15,000 consumers twice each year.

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