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'Word of Mouth' biggest influence in apparel purchases
Dec '09
Retailers will spend millions of dollars on advertising this holiday season, but many shoppers won't commit to buying some gifts until hearing from people just like them that it's worth it. According to a Retail Advertising and Marketing Association survey conducted by BIGresearch, word of mouth remains the biggest influence in people's electronics (43.7%) and apparel (33.6%) purchases, though advertising inserts, articles and in-store promotions also sway buying decisions.

“Hearing what other people have to say about a product gives shoppers the satisfaction of knowing what they purchased is peer-reviewed and worth their money,” said Mike Gatti, Executive Director, RAMA. “Whether it is based on a conversation with a friend or a customer review on a website, people put a lot of weight in other shoppers' opinions.”

When it comes to apparel purchases, shoppers say in-store promotions (31.8%) are nearly as important as word of mouth. Given the economy, it's also not surprising that coupons (31.2%) were ranked near the top of the list. Interestingly, shoppers said that advertising inserts (28.0%), direct mail (24.2%) and email advertising (22.4%) were more influential than television ads (21.8%).

Second to word of mouth when it comes to buying new laptops, GPS systems, high definition televisions or any other electronics, more than one-third (33.9%) of consumers say articles written about the product influence their decision. Advertising inserts (26.0%), in-store promotions (25.9%) and coupons (22.8%) also sway shoppers' electronic purchases. In addition, technology plays an important role, with 4.7 percent saying they are influenced by blogs and 5.1 percent using online video game advertisements as a factor in their final purchase decision.

The survey found people still prefer traditional media to get their daily dose of news and information. Nearly nine out of 10 (88.9%) people said they watch television throughout the week, 77.9 percent read what arrives in the mail and 70.2 percent listen to the radio. New media preferences include reading and sending emails (86.5%), surfing the internet (82.0%), instant messaging (26.1%) and blogging (9.6%).
“Traditional media still plays a big role in consumers' everyday lives, but technology has paved the way for people to have instant access to sales events, promotions and even customer reviews,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch.

Retailers eager to get consumers' attention through television or online ads should consider casting a wider net as well. When asked what they simultaneously do while watching TV, nearly three in 10 (29.3%) go online, 12.2 percent read the newspaper and 21.3 percent participate in other activities. While surfing the internet, 40.1 percent said they simultaneously watch television and 22.5 percent read the mail.

BIGresearch is a consumer intelligence firm providing analysisof 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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