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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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