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How to use Consumer Barometer with Google to see how Internet users in any country research and buy

How to use Consumer Barometer with Google to see how Internet users in any country research and buy
03 October 2018
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The Consumer Barometer with Google here: is full of useful stuff for marketers. The Barometer has 4 sections, and the front page looks like this:

In this post I'm going to use Discover Our Curated Insights to look at how Americans (I could as easily have picked any of 55 other countries from a dropdown menu) use the Internet and online videos to research and buy products and services.

Google presents each factoid in a nice chart like the one below:

But for simplicity I'm going to give you just the facts.

General Internet:

  • Americans of all ages use the Internet for personal purposes, ranging from 75% for those aged 55+ to 97% of those aged 25-34.
  • 77% of those aged 55+ to 97% of those aged 25-34 do so daily.
  • Smartphones are popular for going online. Across age groups, 35% of Americans use a smartphone most often, 33% use a smartphone or a PC/tablet about equally, 21% use PC/tablet more than smartphone.
  • 78% of Americans consider the Internet to be their primary resource.

General Shopping:

  • They research purchases 77% of the time using PCs, 29% using smartphones.
  • Smartphones are most often used (43%) in hte Inspiration phase of product research. But they're also used for Comparison, Advice and Purchase Preparation (all 32%-36%).
  • In-store research (16%) as well as Location Search and finding Product Photos (each 14%) are popular pre-purchase activities done using smartphones.
  • 36% of smartphone users say they often or sometimes encounter difficulties in using websites.

Local Shopping:

  • Top 3 reasons for using online search to find local businesses: Planning Activities (33%), Specific Product Need (25%), Planning a Purchase (24%).
  • 80% say their #1 choice for finding a local business is to use a search engine.
  • Types of information most often sought about local businesses:
  1. Prices 52%
  2. Hours and Promotions (TIE - 33%)
  3. Location 32%
  4. Availability and Reviews (TIE - 27%)
  • 58% said they use PCs to look for information on local businesses, 43% use smartphones.

International Shopping:

  • 31% said they buy products from abroad online at least once a year.
  • Top reasons for buying internationally:
  1. More appealing offers (30%)
  2. Availability (29%)
  3. Better payment and service conditions (21%)
  • Products most often bought online from abroad:
  1. Clothing and accessories (35)
  2. Books and CDs (25%)
  3. Computer hardware/software (18%)
  • 60% of Americans say they find translation to be a hurdle when buying from abroad.

Online Video:

  • 66% say they are fully focused on videos they watch
  • 66% watch video alone (i.e., no other people present)
  • Most (58%) said the videos they watch are short - les than 5 minutes.
  • And 58% also said the videos they watched were unrelated to their surroundings at the time


Not bad as research results go, and it didn't cost us a cent!

And it's instructive to look at and compare results from Internet users in other countries - China, for instance.

Some differences that jump out, vs. Americans:

  • 75% most often use a smartphone to go online - the most fundamental difference.
  • 77% use the Internet primarily for fun.
  • 51% use the Internet primarily to get advice when shopping - peer influence!.
  • 41% look for local businesses to fill a Specific Product Need.
  • 91% - even more than Americans - prefer to use a search engine to find a local business.
  • 68% prefer using smartphones to look for local businesses.
  • 54% shop internationally because they can get better quality products from abroad.
  • Cosmetics and health products are most frequently bought online from abroad.
  • Only 10% said they watched videos shorter than 5 minutes - 66% said videos they watched were longer than 10 minutes - do the Chinese have longer attention spans? Could be important - most of us can do a much better job of selling in 10-plus minutes vs. 5-minus.

Look at all that actionable stuff for segmenting American vs. Chinese prospects. And you have 54 other countries from which to pick research results.

Thanks, Google!

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David Boggs MS    - David
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