"The Internet is routinely used when making buying decisions, but its influence is small compared with offline channels such as friends and sales personnel, a new study finds.
Sunday's report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project looked at consumer behavior in purchasing music, cell phones and homes or renting apartments. It found the Internet's role to be indirect.
"The Internet helps people eliminate irrelevant alternatives," said John Horrigan, Pew's associate director. "The Internet may influence the choice modestly but has important consequences in getting better deals and in having a more focused search process along the way."
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