Internet Has Almost Double The Influence Of TV

    June 30, 2008

In the UK, Germany, and France the Internet has about double the influence of television when it comes to consumer decision making according to the Digital Influence Index, a study done by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive.

The study found that consumers use the Internet in a number of ways to make decisions. Consumers are more likely to seek opinions of others by visiting social media and product rating sites when making choices that have a major personal impact.

Consumers will visit company branded sites when making transactional decisions on items, such as airline tickets or utilities. While consumers see the benefits of the Internet in their lives, they continue to have concerns about online safety and the trustworthiness of some online information. In the UK, 66 percent of online consumers say the Internet helps them to make better decisions, but only 28 percent trust the information companies provide online.

Most of the survey results were consistent across all three countries, use of the Internet did reveal national differences. Germany leads the three countries in online research, while the UK Internet users are the most likely to have profile on a social networking site. The French are more likely to use the Internet to find listings and directions and to read blogs.

The study found more than 80 percent of online consumers in each country use the Internet to do comparison-shopping for major purchases.  More than 75 percent go online to manage bank accounts and over two-thirds use the Internet to keep track of current events or politics.

"The research shows that the Internet stands out as the most important communications medium in the lives of European consumers today", said Dave Senay, president and chief executive officer of Fleishman-Hillard.

"The rapid rise, changing nature, and increasing influence of the Internet should cause marketers to think differently about the entire media and marketing landscape," said George Terhanian, president of Harris Interactive Europe.