Consumers researching purchase decisions on own, Penn, Schoen study finds

NEW YORK: A majority of consumers said that they inform purchasing decisions with details gleaned on their own because both TV advertisements and mainstream news do not provide them with enough data, according to a study conducted by Penn, Schoen, & Berland Associates (PSB).

NEW YORK: A majority of consumers said that they inform purchasing decisions with details gleaned on their own because both TV advertisements and mainstream news do not provide them with enough data, according to a study conducted by Penn, Schoen, & Berland Associates (PSB).

More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said they supplement their purchasing decisions with research because TV ads don't provide them with enough information, while 66% had the same complaint about news they receive from TV, major newspapers, magazines, and broadcast radio.

More than nine in 10 (92%) of those surveyed said they most believe information they glean on their own through the Internet, newspapers, magazines, or family and friends.

Mark Penn, president of PSB and CEO of Burson-Marsteller, said the study demonstrates that marketers and PR professionals must target consumers at the Web destinations where they are finding product information.

“What [consumers] are really saying is they really trust the information that they ferret out themselves, and that process has mushroomed,” he said. “This has been developing over the past decade, but we are now at a point where people are researching their shampoo and their toothbrushes.” Penn added that research showed that “people who are watching every dollar” spend more time researching purchases.

The study reached nearly 300 US adults from October 15 to 21, 2008.

A similar study released January 12 by Ketchum and the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication showed a growing number of consumers using shopping Web sites, social networks, and blogs, and a declining quantity viewing local and national TV news.

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