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The internet as a decision-making tool: consumers’ online behaviour

Making a fast, definitive decision when it comes to buying an expensive item has been found to be a particularly arduous process for certain consumers, with a number of factors forcing a change of mind along the way. A high percentage of us consult numerous websites when deciding to make a high cost purchase, shifting our perception of where best we can find unbiased and worthwhile opinions and facts.


Especially when making larger investments users look for information on the Internet

Especially when making larger investments users look for information on the Internet

A study on users’ information procurement behaviour when purchasing a car was conducted in collaboration with the research institute K&A Brand Research, showing that making the decision for a certain model might still change shortly before the transaction. Indeed, up until two weeks before the purchase, the internet is the consumer’s most important source of information, making it the decisive decision-making tool, even before the car salesman gets involved at all.

Secondary to the internet in a consumer’s decision making process are vendors, family and friends, and printed media, which at this stage are considered only of minor importance. The K&A survey results show that five weeks prior to the purchase, internet use rises sharply and reaches its peak in the fourth week. During this phase, 50%of the respondents admitted to having changed their mind at least once during the purchasing process. 25% said they changed their mind and chose a different model one week before making their purchase. The criteria which affected their reconsideration varied between brand, model, price range, and vehicle type (new car/ used car).

The findings underline how important it is to adjust advertising measures to reflect such changes to decisions made throughout the customer’s journey. In the case of potential car buyers the last five weeks before a purchase are of crucial significance, this is why especially during this period of time advertisers can find their niche by using targeted advertising. However, with rash budget decisions, advertisers risk missing their target audience and giving away a lot of potential customers.

An effective method to avoid spending in areas where customers are not is through conducting a detailed customer journey analysis. It is entirely possible to target a specific audience’s activity by tracking their progress around the web using high-quality platforms and evaluating where best to allocate an advertising budget based on suitable, individual attribution models. Based on these results, advertisers secure increasing conversions and falling marketing costs for the long run.

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