Google emphasises importance of online research in travel sales
Google has launched the Consumer Barometer 2015, the most comprehensive free tool for planners looking to understand and compare how people use the internet around the world.
Entering its fifth year, it is the best tool of its kind in terms of size, scale, and the depth of questions covered, enabling users to compare digital, mobile, video and shopping habits across 56 countries, including tech-savvy Britain.
British consumers continue to lead Europe in mobile technology adoption.
Nearly three-quarters have a smartphone compared to the European average of 61 per cent, and 60 per cent use search engines via their smartphone at least once a week, making it crucial for businesses to think mobile.
They also have more devices than ever, with the average UK consumer now owning 3.3 devices, up ten per cent from 2014.
Some 51 per cent own tablets and 75 per cent own personal computers.
Naturally, given the number of devices owned, Brits are frequent internet users, with 85 per cent going online at least once a day.
That figure rises to 92 per cent among those under 44 years old.
And with so many internet connected-devices at their fingertips, multi-screening is increasingly common.
Some 64 per cent of Brits go online while watching TV, with 63 per cent using their smartphones to do this, and 36 per cent using a tablet or computer.
Mobile internet access has also influenced how consumers shop.
Today 59 per cent of Brits research products online before they purchase offline.
This compares to nearly a half researching offline before making a purchase online.
A quarter of Brits research their purchases online only.
The effect of growing internet use and mobile penetration is particularly relevant for local businesses.
Four out of ten people use smartphones to look for local information, such as products and prices, and 61 per cent research locally a day or less before purchase.
Peter Cory, agency sales director at Google, commented: “Consumer habits are changing fast, making it challenging for brands to understand and predict how and when it’s best to reach them.
“In the UK alone, we’ve seen significant increases in the number of devices owned and that’s having a direct effect on the way consumers conduct their day-to-day lives - how they consume media, how they research products and how, when and where they buy.
“The updated Consumer Barometer will help marketers understand and compare changing consumer behaviours and better plan their local and international media strategies.”
Google created the Consumer Barometer to provide marketers with the latest consumer insights to support planning in a fast changing digital landscape.
Anyone can use the free tool to create and download customised data and market-specific information.
These can help users discover anything from: how often people go online, how many connected devices they may have, how people research and purchase online, the influence of online video on their shopping habits or the differences between generations and their online behaviour.
There are now 20 vertical sectors profiled within the Barometer which include: clothing and footwear, home appliances, flights, hotels, cosmetics and groceries.
New vertical sectors will be added on an ongoing basis as Google extends the insights.
Two new topics have also been included - local search and international purchases - helping to provide an even deeper understanding of consumer research and purchases behaviour.