The commercial use of the internet by American adults has grown since the mid-2000s, with 58% of Americans now reporting that they perform online research concerning the products and services that they are considering purchasing. That is an increase from 49% who said they conducted product or service research online in 2004.
Morever, the number of those who do research about products on any given day has jumped from 15% of adults in September 2007 to 21% in September 2010. From February 2004, the number of adults conducting research on any given day has more than doubled, up from 9%.
Additionally, 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy, indicating a willingness to share their opinions about products and the buying experience with others.“Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers,” said Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and author of a new report about online product research. “Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the internet.”
About the Survey
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between August 9 and September 13, 2010, among a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=2,065), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.