In a study conducted by Fleishman-Hilliard and Harris Interactive in January 2010, consumers with Internet access in several countries around the world were asked where they turned to when they need to find reliable information to aid in making purchase decisions. The Internet took one of the top two spots in six out of six countries polled: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and China. You can see the stats in the chart from eMarketer below:
In fact, half of the countries surveyed ended up with the Internet taking the number one spot in terms of where consumers look for information. Particularly interesting in this study is the fact that the Internet (excluding email) is considered “absolutely essential” or “extremely essential” to 71% of consumers with Internet access in China — a country that is already one of the biggest marketing opportunities for international business expansion.
It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, the Internet wasn’t a necessity. Many businesses still didn’t have websites and the social web was only just catching on. Go back 10 years before that and most people didn’t have Internet access in their homes. Times have certainly changed quickly. Today, the Internet is the place for consumers in countries around the world to turn to first when they need information to help them make buying decisions.
No longer is the Internet an ancillary marketing tool or tertiary distribution channel. Today, it’s a top priority for just about any business you can think of. It’s amazing to sit back and think about how the world has changed in such a short amount of time.
Today, businesses have the luxury of instant access to people around the world 24 hours per day and 365 days per year, but they also have the disadvantage of too much information getting to consumers. It’s a different world than it was 10 or 20 years ago, and as marketers and business people, we’re lucky to be a part of such an exciting time in the history of how we do business.
Just something to think about…
You can read the complete article from eMarketer mentioned in this post which includes additional statistics here.