Answer: about half of adults under 50, according to Pew Research’s “Online Shopping & E-Commerce” report released earlier this year.

Group of young adults using handheld devices

Pew Research Center- Online review use among U.S. Adults

Early this year Pew Research (@pewresearch) published findings of its national survey of 4,787 U.S. adults conducted from Nov. 24 to Dec. 21, 2015. The survey shows “the extent to which Americans are turning toward the collective wisdom of online reviews and ratings when making purchasing decisions,” say the authors.

This chart, in particular, caught our eye [emphasis added]: “Half of adults under 50 routinely check online reviews before buying new items“.

“Although cost is often key,” they write, “today’s consumers come to their purchasing decisions with a broad range of expectations on a number of different fronts. When buying something for the first time, more than eight-in-ten Americans say it is important to be able to compare prices from different sellers (86%), to be able to ask questions about what they are buying (84%), or to buy from sellers they are familiar with (84%).

Pew Research Center- Online review use among young adults in the U.S.“In addition, more than seven-in-ten think it is important to be able to try the product out in person (78%), to get advice from people they know (77%), or to be able to read reviews posted online by others who have purchased the item (74%). And nearly half of Americans (45%) have used cellphones while inside a physical store to look up online reviews of products they were interested in, or to try and find better prices online.” 

If you are already monitoring social media for reviews of your products/services or mentions of your brand, you’ve made a wise investment. “Younger adults [are] more likely to discuss companies or products on social media,” the report states. Half or more of adults 18-49 say they have shared their views on brands or products on social media.

Where brands can sometimes go wrong is not listening and taking part in these online conversations. Beyond monitoring is social media engagement in the context of an integrated customer experience management program, but let’s not forget the importance of managing your customer’s experience throughout their buyer’s journey. If the strains of customer service and support are becoming too much, contact a nearshore contact center like Callzilla today to explore your options!

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