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Does your product have a good online reputation? Let’s hope so, because more and more shoppers are searching the Web before making purchases, according to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

PC Mag reports that about 58 percent of people do online research before purchasing a particular product, up from 49 percent in 2004, Pew found. Of the 3,001 people polled, meanwhile, about 21 percent research products on the Web on any given day, up from 15 percent in 2007 and 9 percent in 2004.

Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers,” Jim Jansen, report author and a Pew senior fellow, said in a statement. “Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the Internet.”

Many people also return to the Web to discuss their purchases. About 24 percent of respondents have posted online comments about gadgets they bought, showing a willingness to share, Pew said.

Pew did not find a huge difference between genders; 77 percent of men and 79 percent of women said they conducted online research. There was a larger difference when broken out by race. Eighty-one percent of white respondents said they’d researched products on the Web, compared to 76 percent of Hispanics, and 66 percent of African Americans.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on September 30, 2010 in Ideas.

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