Google India recently released a report on the influence of Internet on technology product purchases in India. The study was conducted by Nielsen India on behalf of Google India where they surveyed 200 multi-brand and single-brand stores with a total of 3677 respondents from 12 cities – 4 metros Mumbai, NCR, Chennai, Kolkata; tier 1 cities -Chandigarh, Pune, Indore, Coimbatore; tier 2 cities: Kanpur, Vadodara, Kochi, Bhubaneshwar.

The report reveals that about 40% of the respondents researched on the internet before making a purchase decision for technology products. The report also states that about 7 out of 10 of the buyers know the exact brand and model they want to buy with the help of online research before entering the store. The study saw highest impact on this kind of behavior in tier 1 & tier 2 city consumers with 83% respondents saying that they know exactly the brand that they want to buy before they go to the store.

The results from the study are interesting indicating that there seems to be a shift in how consumers buy products — due to the ease in access to information on the Internet, consumers seem to be researching about the product online and make a purchase offline. However, this behavior is also worrisome for ecommerce and deals sites considering that consumers believe that they’ll get a better deal offline (read below).

Apart from that, the study also revealed that Internet is now second only to TV to create awareness for tech products – for metro & tier 1 audience. About 46% respondents stated that they used mobile internet for research and 22% of tier 2 consumers used mobile as the sole device for accessing internet for research. The research intensity increased when consumers had to make a purchase decision for mobiles priced higher than Rs 7,000, Laptops higher than Rs 30,000, and television sets higher than Rs 30,000.

Recently, Opera, the browser company, which brings out its State of the Mobile Web (SMW), had revealed a similar behavior where it had reported that 14% of mobile users visit eCommerce site. Opera has tagged both E-Commerce portal where people can actually shop for products and portals where people can compare price under E-Commerce category. This obviously does not indicate that about 14% percentage of people who use mobile internet shop from their mobile handsets. If only Opera had reported on how many of those 14% passed the payment gateway, we could have a clear idea. Both the reports reveal similar behavior where people research for products online on their mobile handsets and make a purchase offline.

Other highlights:

– The average duration of online research for products was said to be 2 weeks (14 days).
– 57% respondents changed their mind about the brand/model they wanted to purchase when they looked for information online.
– Laptops (54%) emerged as the most searched product category, followed
by mobile phones (39%), digital cameras (38%) and televisions (33%).
– Reasons to make a purchase offline included — they wanted to get the ‘look
& feel’ of the product, check if there are any deals available, negotiate for price, get details on guarantee, get more information on the selected model and some installation advice.
– Google also looked at the most searched technology brands by product category on Google search for the period of Jan 2012 to October 2012:

– The query volumes originating from mobiles phones were growing 3 times faster than desktop at 86%.
– Query search volumes from mobile and desktop for tablets were the fastest growing product category, growing at 160% yoy; this was followed by televisions growing at 51% yoy, mobile phones at 41%, laptops at 39% followed by digital cameras at 29% year on year.

Download Report.