Understanding consumers' online path to purchase (by Google/Nielsen).

August 2011

The internet is a multi-billion pound industry in the UK, which accounted for 7.2% of the nation's GDP in 2009. The UK leads the world in e-commerce as the country with the highest per capita spending online.

As the growth of e-commerce remains unabated, we see that consumers are increasingly researching their purchases online.

Google's new White Paper conducted in conjunction with Nielsen, takes a detailed look at consumers' path to purchase across multiple sectors. The study seeks to understand the length of research journeys, how shoppers are researching their purchases and how they are using search during their decision-making process.

Here are some key findings from the study:

Research journeys are often lengthy and in some sectors, can last more than a month.

One in three conversions takes place 30 days after the initial research.

70% of consumers who purchase use search.

Generic search terms play a key role in the research process. Shoppers who convert online are 19% more likely, on average, to search on generic terms than those who are just 'window shopping' or end up making their purchase offline.