Online Sharing Influences Consumers Decision

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Kuala Lumpur (25 November 2013) – Online sharing appears to be the most influential source of information for Malaysians when purchasing consumer electronic products, according to the latestText100 Digital Index:APAC Consumer Electronics Study. This is especially prominent during the early stage of decision process, while retail outlets retain significant sway over decisions at the latter stage of the buying process.

Product specifications, pricing and warranties are among the most sought after information when researching on smart devices and technologies, across all stages of the buying journey with almost
4 in every 5 consumers seeking out pricing details. Other significant topics include accessories available and customer reviews. This trend is consistent across other consumer electronic product categories included in the study.

“Consumers have now truly taken control over the decision-making process, dictating what information they expect from brands as well as where, and when they want it,” said Anne Costello, Text100’s Regional Director of Asia-Pacific. “At the core, we are still after the same things: price, facts, and validation from our peers that we’re making the right decision.

“But the age-old ways of getting this information, like word-of-mouth, have been dramatically remediated into a whole range of new channels, from social media sharing to blogs and self-declared experts both online and on the retail High Street. Building product awareness is critical for today’s brands and they can only do so by mapping out an integrated, omni-channel communications strategy that is consistent, credible and relevant in the content that it offers.”

Based on more than 2,000 respondents in seven countries, the study specifically looked at three subsectors in the consumer electronics segment: smart devices and new technology; games, software and apps; and traditional electronics and home appliances. The study also found that approximately 70 per cent of Malaysian respondents made their purchases within a month.

Talk is not cheap – it’s priceless

In Asia Pacific, word-of-mouth remains the most influential source of information for consumers throughout the region as referenced by one in two potential buyers of smart devices and wearable technologies. However, retail outlets and the media are drivingdecisions at all stages of the buying process: both visits to retail stores and traditional media sources were consulted by more than

40 per cent of shoppers as they set out to buy traditional electronics and home appliances.
Two in every three Asia-Pacific shoppers have already done extensive research and decided which brand of consumer electronics product they will buy before they approach a point-of-sale, regardless of whether it is online or offline
Moreover, the study showed that while people are more likely to give positive rather than negative comments and reviews, they are also much more likely to tell their friends and family about their product experience than posting a link or writinga review.
“If you deliver an experience that really recognises the customer for the individual they are, you are much more likely to inspire positive recognition and advocacy in those all-important word-of-mouth circles,” said Costello. “Consumers want to share good experiences. Brands can provide them more often by taking the effort to talk to their customers, chart different buying personas, and investing in training staff to identify and deliver the most relevant advice for each one’s needs,” according Text 100’s Digital Index: APAC Consumer Electronics Study.

Retail retains a foot in the door

Despite the dominance of online channels at the start of consumers’ decision-making process, visits to retail outlets remain a trusted source of information from initial research to purchase and beyond, with their function changing depending on where the consumer was in their buying journey for all product types.

Even younger consumers gravitated towards physical stores despite a higher-than-average reliance on online sources: when buying smart devices and wearable technology, for example, 48 per cent of 18-24 year olds consulted retail outlets at each stage of the purchasing process on average, only slightly less than the 53 per cent who referenced social media and other forms of online sharing.

“Brands no longer get to decide which channels they play in.It is the consumer who is in the driver’s seat. Their journey inevitably goes down myriad channels on the information highway,” added Costello. “Brands need to break down the prevailing silos of marketing and communications and weave together a compelling, unique story that completely integrates the paid, owned, earned and social platforms.”

“Consumers want to know that what they’re buying will suit their needs and can be trusted. Clearly, hard facts and genuine recommendations ultimately carry the sale, not celebrities and paid endorsements.”

Other findings:
• Malaysian consumers are less likely to give or post negative comments than positive ones
• Malaysian consumers feel compelled to give more reasons for purchases than those anywhere else in Asia-Pacific
• Singaporean and Hong Kong consumers are the most price-sensitive
• 9 in 10 Chinese shoppers expect to buy smart devices in the next 12 months
• In 40 per cent of Australian households, the husband or male partner assumes a major stake in deciding what to buy
• Taiwanese consumers are as likely to buy second-hand goods as brand new ones, across all types of consumer electronics.