Retailers are more influential in consumer purchasing decisions than celebrities and vloggers, according to new research.
A recent survey from field marketing agency Gekko, entitled Shopper Influencers, found that even among tech-savvy youngsters in the 18 to 24 age group, more than 40 per cent preferred to head in-store to touch, see and experience a product before purchasing. This rose to 58 per cent for the over-55s.
More than a third (38 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds said they wanted a personal service and recommendation from in-store staff, which, surprisingly, was the highest among all age categories.
Only a small proportion of the 18 to 24 age group admitted to being swayed by celebrity endorsements (18 per cent), or the opinion of vloggers and bloggers (28 per cent).
The influence of friends’ recommendations (70 per cent) and online reviews (71 per cent) were particularly high among this age group when making a purchasing decision and was consistent across all age groups.
Within the tech sector, online reviews are still heavily relied upon by 18 to 24-year-olds (38 per cent), and was closely followed by the over-55s at 35 per cent.
When it comes to home appliances, user reviews rated highly across all groups, with 32 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds citing this as a main influencer, and rising to 46 per cent among 45 to 54-year-olds.
Interestingly, none of the mainstream advertising channels were cited as being hugely influential in purchasing decisions among consumers, with TV coming in at just 7.5 per cent, websites at 8.7 per cent, social media at 4.6 per cent, three per cent for billboards and two per cent for newspaper and print.
However, advertising in-situ within the retail environment was rated the key influencing factor at 19 per cent.
Daniel Todaro, managing director of Gekko, said: “According to the ONS, while online sales continue to rise, e-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales in July to August 2017 was still only 16.4 per cent. The findings of this study show that the shopfloor is clearly still winning in considered purchases, therefore marketers need to invest in making the experience as good as it can be.
When a shopper is ready to make a purchase, they will look for advice and guidance from people who have experience of using the product, be they friends, family, other users or experts in-store. Consumers today are much more savvy and recognise that celebrities and vloggers have been paid for their endorsement, while time and money spent working with staff on the shopfloor will pay for itself through category development and increased sales at a higher average sales price, making your marketing work harder.”